This is why puppy training games work so well: all puppies have two characteristics in common: they all love to play, and they’re constantly learning, whether you realize it or not.
Puppy training games are a great way to take advantage of these two characteristics. They allow you to build and strengthen the bond between you and your pup while he’s learning important skills.
You should start training your pup the day he arrives at your home. However, instead of beginning with strict lessons, start with a few fun puppy training games. Many owners actually prefer puppy training games over more traditional training sessions.
For one thing, puppies learn much faster when you make their training fun. And, because he’ll be running, jumping and playing while he’s learning, puppy training games also help your pup burn off energy and get into top physical condition.
Before you begin, fill one of your pockets with some of your puppy’s favorite treats. They’ll motivate him and make the training games more fun. You also need to remember that your dog is still a puppy, so his attention span will be short. It’s important to limit your training sessions to just a few minutes so your new pet won’t get bored.
Now that you know how to get started, here are a few of the fun training games you can play with your puppy:
Hide and Seek.
You can teach your puppy the “come” command by playing hide and seek. Wait until he’s not looking and then hide behind a bush or the corner of your house. Once he realizes he can’t see you, he’ll probably become uncomfortable and even a bit insecure, and he’ll start sniffing and looking around.
While he’s looking in your direction, step out from your hiding place, kneel down, widen your arms and then say his name followed by “come.” Praise your puppy and give him a treat when he arrives. This game also teaches your pup to stay close to you, because he’ll think you might disappear if he doesn’t keep his eyes on you.
Where’s Your Toy?
This game is somewhat similar to hide and seek, but it teaches your pup to use his curiosity to explore his surroundings. It involves hiding your pup’s favorite toy (don’t make it too hard to find) and then inviting him to find it by asking “Where’s your toy?” Being able to play with the toy after he finds it might be enough reward, but praise him and give him a treat anyway.
You can also use this game to begin teaching him the skills he’ll need in order to play fetch or retrieve objects. The first step involves placing his favorite toy where he can see it. Ask your pup “Where’s your toy?” and let him have it when he goes to it. Next, while she’s not looking, place the toy where it’s only partially visible.
Ask the question again, and give him plenty of praise and a treat when your pup finds it. The last step of this game involves hiding the toy out of sight and allowing your pup to find it by using his nose after you give him the command. Once again, praise and a treat are in order once he succeeds.
Playing tug-of-war can help your puppy grow physically stronger. It can also help build his self-confidence if you let him win some of the time. This game is not recommended for pups with dominance or aggression issues, however, because it can make these behavioral problems even worse.
Toss your puppy’s favorite ball or toy while asking him to “fetch.” He’ll learn some basic retrieving skills while he’s running after the ball, which of course is also great exercise.
Sit Before Any Game. Requiring your pup to sit before you begin any game will teach him the “sit” command, but he will also learn he must wait calmly before he can have fun by playing the game.
For example, you can make your puppy sit calmly before you throw his ball during a game of fetch. Don’t throw the ball or give him the “fetch” command until after he sits.
Puppy training games let you teach your pup several skills and commands while he’s having fun. Your pup will become more attentive, responsive and confident, and he’ll get some great exercise at the same time. Best of all, you’ll strengthen the bond between you and your canine friend.