Training a new puppy is a rewarding and important part of dog ownership, but it can also be difficult.
We’ve pulled together our favourite puppy training games for you to try at home. They teach puppies control, obedience and what’s expected of them in a fun way. Keep reading to find a bonus training game from Lee Aspery, Handler of Scrappy the Fire Investigation Search Dog with Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.
The Name Game
A great way to teach your puppy their name. Young puppies stay near to and focused on their owners, so this should be relatively easy. Every time you call your puppy’s name and they look at you or come to you, reward them with a Wagg training treat.
What he’s learning: That good things happen when he responds to you.
Hide and Seek
Give the ‘sit’ command and get your puppy to wait while you go and hide somewhere (preferably without your feet poking out from under the curtains). Call them when you’re ready, then act excited and give them a treat when they find you.
What he’s learning: To wait until he’s called.
The Clean Up
Take a box or basket and a handful of puppy’s favourite toys. Start by getting your put to pick up a toy and give it to you (by holding out your hand). Each time they give you a toy, reward them with a treat. You should then show them how to put each toy in the box and pointing to it every time he picks up a toy in his mouth. Remember to reward them with a puppy training treat every time!
What he’s learning: To retrieve and drop to command.
Pass the Puppy
Don’t worry St. Bernard owners; this doesn’t involve you struggling to carry your pup! This is a game for the whole family. Everyone takes a handful of treats and sits in a big circle with puppy in the middle. Everyone takes turns to call the puppy over, feeding him a treat and making a fuss when he comes over.
What he’s learning: Come and recall
Remember it’s important to keep puppy training games short so they don’t get bored or overtired. Play them often so that they become familiar and the training becomes regular.
Bonus Game: Get squeaky!
“Training your puppy or young dog to respond to voice commands is vital to their safety and a key part of dog ownership,” says Lee Aspery, Handler of Scrappy the 5-year-old Cocker Spaniel Fire Investigation Search Dog with Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.
“When training search dog puppies, I use my voice in a high pitched and ‘squeaky’ manner when calling a puppy and especially so when rewarding the puppy to reinforce, on an intimate level, how well the puppy has done.”
“Using your voice as part of training your dog reinforces in their mind that you as the ‘pack leader’ are happy with their behaviours. This form of ‘positive confirmation’ coupled with a tasty treat will produce a strong baseline to train your puppy in a wide range of skills and behaviours to keep them healthy, happy and safe.”
What he’s learning: The treat and high voice combination is great fun and produces positive interaction between the puppy and his owner.
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