Games can be a fun way to teach leadership and control to your puppy. All games will provide lessons for your puppy. There are good games and there are bad games – it is important to know the difference. Enjoy these tips from world-renowned dog trainer and behaviorist John Rogerson.
Bad game: “Catch me if you can”
The dog grabs something and you try to catch him to get it back. (A possessive power trip for the dog, teaches him that he can out-run / out-smart / out-maneuver YOU. Makes him impossible to catch if he ever gets out!)
Good game: “Hide and Seek”
You hide and the dog searches until he finds you. (Teaches the dog to come when called and how to find you when he can’t see you) … or hide a toy and encourage him to find it – an excellent “scenting” game! Make a big deal of it when he “finds” you!
Bad game: “Tug of War” for keeps.
The dog wrestles the toy from you, sometimes growling, and wins, running off with the toy. (A major confidence builder for your dog. Often turns into a “catch me if you can” game.)
Good game: “Fetch”
You bring out the ball and invite a controlled game of “fetch” – the game becomes a training session: “sit” “wait” “get it” “bring it” “out” and you put the ball away until the next game! (Pack leaders get to decide when and what the rules are, and when the game ends. Always stop when the dog would like to play longer. Leave him wanting more!)
Bad game: “Well, Throw the ball, NOW!”
Dog pushes his ball at you, staring intently, ordering you to “throw the ball !!!” and then snatches it just as you reach for it. When he decides to allow YOU to throw it, he dances around teasing you with it, instead of delivering it to you. (A power trip for the dog, teaches him that he can give YOU orders.)
Great game: Mind Games.
Build brain power! Teach your dog the names of his toys or names of family members. Teach him to deliver notes or find your car keys! Tell him to “Fetch your woobie!”
Bad game: Wrestling, chase, and play fighting.
OOPS! Encourages jumping up, mouthing, biting, chasing and pits the dog’s strength against the owner. A DEFINITE confidence builder for HIM. Teaches the dog he can “run for higher office” and win.