Photo of "Fez" courtesy of LeeAnn Heringer
Good Games & Bad Games
"Control the games, control the dog,"
says British behaviorist John Rogerson.
Games can be a fun way to teach leadership and control.
Bad game: "Catch me if you can"
You stomp, he runs - or worse, 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 or a biscuit and encourage him to find it - an excellent "scenting" game!
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 power trip and confidence builder for your dog. Often turns into a "catch me if you can" game. ]
Good game: "Tug
of War" on YOUR terms!
You present the toy and invite the dog to play. You make all the rules! "Take it" "Pull!" "Out" The game begins and ends when you say so, and when the game is over, you keep the toy until the next game! [ A leadership exercise - use sparingly. In case of over-stimulation, the game ends abruptly. Teaches self- control. ]
Bad game: "Throw the ball!"
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 does 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. ]
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: Wrestling and play fighting.
OOPS! Encourages jumping up, mouthing, biting, chasing and pits the dog's strength against the owner. A definite confidence builder. Teaches the dog he can "run for higher office" and win.
Good game: Tricks!
Exercise your dog's mind! Teach your dog to sit up, roll over, shake hands, or even balance a biscuit on his nose!
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!
handout courtesy of © CAROL A. BYRNES "DIAMONDS IN THE RUFF"
Training for Dogs & Their People (509) 325-7833
ditr_training @ hotmail.com - http://www.diamondsintheruff.com