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Training Games - fun with your pup

You will no doubt attend some puppy classes when the time comes, but here are some games you can start to play at home/in the garden.

Top Tip: puppies' attention spans are limited. Keep these games short and interesting and stop before your pup gets bored and/or frustrated.  If they are starting to bite rather than play, it's time for a nap!

Teaching recall

Being able to recall your dog is probably the most important thing you will both learn.  Once your pup is out in the big wide world, having the ability to call them back from situations is imperative, for their safety and that of others.

Start as young as you can, and remember to reinforce this behaviour as they get older. 

Training isn't just for puppies.....it continues throughout a dog's life.

  1. Sit on the ground with a hidden few treats or a toy
  2. Tell your pup to “come”
  3. When they reach you praise them like mad and give them the treat/toy/lots of love
  4. Wait for your pup to walk off, or move to a different location yourself. Repeat steps 1-3.
  5. Rotate the 'reward', you don't have to give a treat every time.

Top tip: Be consistent.  

If you pick 'come' as your recall command, don't change it.  Say it clearly and in the same tone each time.

Dogs hear one syllable words more clearly.  'Come', 'Here', 'Back' - pick a word that you will use and stick with it.

We've got tons of brilliant training treats available. Take a look at our selection that are suitable for pups 2+ months onwards.

edgard cooper puppy treats

Choose a puppy treat that's yummy but low in fat like these Edgard Cooper Lamb & Beef bites - grain free, high in protein, low in fat. 

Remember, the more treats you give, the less dinner you will need to dish up.

'Touch' game

Top tip: a great way to teach your pup some patience and to bond with you

You can start playing the 'touch game' with very young pups.  It's amazing how quickly they pick things up.  It's a perfect way of teaching both hand, voice and eye commands.

  1. Sit down with your pup
  2. Put a treat in your hand and outstretch your arm
  3. When your pup takes the treat, say 'touch'
  4. Repeat a few times
  5. Now close your fist around the treat so that they can't see it.  Outstretch your arm, as they nose your closed fist, say 'touch'.

Your pup will soon get the message that when they touch your hand with their nose, they receive a treat.

You can vary the position of your hand and how far away you are.  You can then start to combine this command with some eye contact.

  1. Keep your fist closed around the treat until your pup looks you in the eye
  2. When they glance at you, open your hand and let them take the treat
  3. If they don't look at you, make a small noise that captures their attention and look them in the eye - open your hand

Your pup will soon get the message that to receive a treat, they need to look at you directly.

This becomes a useful tool when you finally hit the streets.  Use the touch and eye contact commands you've learnt when you are in the park.  This will help your pup to focus when there are distractions.

'Find it' game

Top tip: start easy....you've got a novice pup there, but with patience and practice this can become a game you play throughout a dog's life

Sniff games such as 'find it' are brilliant at stimulating your dog’s nose and mind. Dog's are built to sniff and they love using their skills.

It’s a great game for pups because it’s mentally and physically stimulates them, and it will wear them out too!

It also helps to build focus and confidence. You can start this game indoors and move to the garden when your pup is old enough.

  1. Get some treats ready and sit down with your puppy
  2. Put a treat on the ground and say 'FIND!'
  3. Repeat, repeat, repeat
  4. Place the treat further away
  5. Keep practicing until your dog understands what “find it” means

Once you have practiced the command, you can start to place the treats around the room/house. 

Have your pup sit while you go around putting a few treats in a couple different spots throughout the room while they watch you. If you aren't at the sit and stay stage yet, get some help with distracting your pup whilst you place the treatos.

Now - let's play 'FIND!'

At first you will need to guide your pup to the hiding places (make them easy to start with). Keep saying 'find', 'find' as you are guiding the pup around.

Once you've played a few times and pup is starting to understand what 'find' means, you can hide the treats in more challenging places, say under rugs or up a bit higher.

After a while your pup will start to use their nose, rather than their eyes to find the treat.

Getting the hang of it?  Time to move into the garden where the challenge is harder and the game even more fun!

Top tip: use a nice strong smelling treat to make the game easier for pups. Our Goodchaps fish training treats are perfect!

goodchaps training treats

'Tug o War' game

Top tip: If your puppy's teeth touch your hand, stop the game. 

Games of tug are mentally stimulating and can teach your dog good manners, it also helps to build your bond and your dog's confidence.

If your pup gets overly excited, then stop the game. This game is all about setting boundaries. If you find your pup constantly gets too excited playing tug, then it may not be the game for your dog - some breeds like this game more than others. 

Always let your dog do the 'tug' so that they set the amount of strain that's on their mouth.  After a few goes of tug, let them win.  Winning will not make your dog more aggressive, it just makes it more fun for them.

We have some fabulous tug toys - take a look at our full range here.

Goodchaps rope tug toy

We've got some great toys for playing indoors too, including these Chuck-It soft ball and roller.

chuck-it indoor play roller

Do you have any puppy games you would like to share?  Comment below with your favourite games.

3 comments

  • Mum used to like to blow a dog whistle in different locations around the house. When I found her, I got a treat. She says it was to teach me to always return to her when I’m off lead on my walks, love Betty.

    Betty
  • Hide & seek (mentioned by Daisy the Cavapoo) is a great game! Pebble (Irish Terrier) likes hide & seek with his toys. It takes a while to teach him which toy is which. Take the toy, touch your puppy’s nose, say the name (frog, bunny, rope, etc) and give puppy a treat. Repeat few times. Place the toy on the floor some distance away from the puppy and ask where is the ‘insert-toy’s-name-here’. Once the puppy ‘finds’ it give him a treat. After a while you can make it more difficult and hide toys in other room or really out of sight. We never got to a stage of bringing the toys but Pebble loves finding them!

    Ola
  • I like to play hide and seek! Hooman goes and hides somewhere while other hooman holds me. Then once hooman has hid, other hooman lets me go and I go seek for hooman! Sometimes hooman has to call my name to help me find them. Once I find them I get a treat!

    Daisy the Cavapoo

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