Monday, May 14, 2007


ATTENTION TRAINING: This game is a great way to encourage eye contact and attention from your dog. You only need lots of very small tasty treats. With the dog sitting or standing in front of you show the dog the treat then move it about a foot away from you and off to the side. The dog will most likely continue to look at the treat you’re holding. Just wait, eventually the dog will look away from the treat and in your direction. At this time immediately say YES! and quickly give the treat. Dogs soon learn to focus up at you not the treat. Once the dog starts looking up in the direction of your face it is time to up the ante! First insist they make solid eye contact (keep your expression soft) then increase the duration until the dog can look at you for a good solid time period.

* Musical Chairs: Proofing the "down, stay" or "sit, stay"command. We've all played this as kids only now we work as a team with our dogs. The chairs are set up either in a circle or two rows back to back with one less chair then the number of players. A minimum boundary 3 to 4 feet is established around the chairs. When the music starts or the instructor issues the heel command each team heels around the outside of the boundary. When the music stops the players issues the "down, stay" command to their dogs and runs for a chair. If their dog gets up they must once again go back and re-down their dog outside of the boundary area thereby giving another player the chance to steal their chair. Once all the chairs are taken and the dogs are still in a down the player left standing is disqualified and another chair is removed. The game continues until the last chair is occupied and the dog is in a dog has remained in the down position.

Variations on the game: The instructor randomly calls out either a "sit, stay", "down, stay" or "stand, stay" when the music stops.The disqualified player continues to heel and down their dog for practise but they must not take a chair when the music stops.

* Jumping: With your dog on leash, jump over a small flat board together saying "OVER" as you go. Gradually increase the height of the board but never higher then his elbows if under 6 months and never higher then his chest if under 1 year old. As he gets comfortable jumping over the board and is associating the word over with jumping, run towards the jump but stay back slightly point towards it so that the dog jumps before you. As he becomes comfortable jumping gradually stay back so that only he is jumping and you are just pointing and saying "Over". Repetitive jumping can be hard on a dogs joints so always keep the height appropriate to the age and size of the dog. Grassy surfaces are safest and never do this more then three times in a session. This will also help to keep the game fresh and fun.

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