Everybody loves a good game, even dogs. So for all the dog owners, if you don’t already play games with your dog, now is the time to start. Playing games with your dog can make it adore you even more. It stimulates your dog’s brain and trains it to be more active instead of being just a saliva-oozing animal that’s bored out of its mind. Here are 3 games to train your dog in, games that all of them can enjoy outside of fetch, games that can simultaneously train them.
1. Hide the item, seek the item.
Perhaps you won’t undermine this seemingly simple variation of fetch when you find out that police dogs are usually very well-trained in it. Basically, you hide 3 items of different scents in different places in your home. Then, holding on to an item with one of the 3 scents- the one which you want your dog to find- command it to seek the similar scented hidden item. This game is great because once your dog is good at it, you can actually get your dog to find items people easily misplace like a mobile phone or car keys with this game. So here’s how to get started.
Step 1. Place 3 items with different scents in front of your dog. You may use tennis balls sprayed with 3 of your favourite perfumes or air freshener.
Step 2. Hang on to an item with one of the 3 scents. You can use a cloth for this or another tennis ball as well.
Step 3. Let your dog smell the item on your hand.
Step 4. Tell it to choose the tennis ball with the same smell. Verbally guide your dog through the process. You may use the command “seek the item”. It may not understand what it is required to do at first. But tell it a few times and it will. Dogs have the ability to fully understand human speech given enough time and training. Amazing aren’t they? I know.
Step 5. Give your dog a treat for choosing the right item. Shake your head in disapproval should it not.
Step 6. Once your dog understands that it has to choose the same scent as the one in your hand, hide the 3 scented objects in different areas of the house. Let your dog smell the item in your hand then speak the magic words “seek the item” and it will.
Step 7. Find a way a to get your mobile phone or keys scented. You may use scented key chains. Keep a similar scented item or key chain in your treasure drawer. So the next time you misplace your phone or keys at home, go to your drawer, grab the key chain and tell your dog “seek the item”. Don’t forget its treat though. Otherwise its seeking skills deteriorate overtime. Hey, they’re reward-seeking creatures too. With the right treat it can actually turn out to be better than a professionally trained police dog. The best part, all credit goes to you!
2. Great actor award
Well this one is a classic. You know roll around, play dead, stay and etc. With the use of technology, this game has become a walk in the park to master!
Step 1. Get your mobile device or computer out. Find a video of a dog acting according to its owners command.
Step 2. Mute the video, pause it just before the act you want, let’s say “roll around”.
Step 3. With your dog facing your device, speak “roll around” then play the video. Your dog will learn what’s “roll around” a lot faster by using videos.
Step 4. Stop using the videos and speak only the command of the act you want your dog to perform and it will.
Step 5. Give your dog a treat. Never forget to give your dog an award for great performance.
Step 6. Repeat the process for all the acts you want your dog to learn.
Step 7. Practice often and soon your dog will be a A-list actor/actress.
3. Identify the word
Dogs are able to recognise words too. Teaching it a few words can help your dog enjoy interacting with you more. So here’s how you go about doing it.
Step 1. Prepare cards with a picture of an object and its name. Let’s say, A ball. So you’ve got a decent-sized card with a picture of a ball and the word “ball”. Prepare a few of these cards with pictures and names of different things.
Step 2. Prepare the items you have on your cards on a table.
Step 3. Place all the cards on the floor or in front of you while you’re sitting on a chair.
Step 4. Call out your dog, show him the picture of the ball. Command your dog to get the ball. Entice it with a treat. Dogs will learn almost anything for a nice treat. You can guide your dog to the item you’ve called out the first few times.
Step 5. Once your dog understands that it needs to retrieve the item you’ve called out from the table, fold the card so that only the word is visible now. This time show your dog the word and command it to it get the item. After decent practice, he’ll recognise the sound and the word and gladly retrieve the item you’ve called out. For a treat of course!
Step 6. Once he has done this a few times, show him only the word and he will be able to recognise the word and retrieve the correct item.
Step 7. Include more words, pictures and items. Your dog might end being the first dog to have a high school level of English. You never know. Worth the try though!
So there you have it, 3 relatively intelligent and fun games to train your dog. Here’s a tip, your dog will enjoy any game that you enjoy teaching, because learning is only fun when you have a fun teacher. So be the best teacher you can be for your pet. I’m sure your dog is already well-prepared to be your best student.