Focus Your Dog with Dog Training Games

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts

Dog training games provide so much more than mental stimulation to your dog. They enable handler control and encourage the dog to focus. They build the relationship between you and your dog and bring the same relationship onto another level.

A Dog’s Eye View

Imagine a dull lesson where you become confused and learn very little. No motivation is offered to encourage you to learn and the whole scenario leaves you feeling a little dull and dispirited. The person teaching you may look disappointed and frustrated throughout. You would certainly not look forward to the next lesson. In fact you could easily begin the dread these sessions and want to avoid them or withdraw into yourself.

Now imagine the same lesson taught in an upbeat and interesting manner. Fun is involved in the learning process. You are given a reward when you get things right and motivated by the promise of this reward. During this session you are encouraged to learn in stages that you can understand easily. You will leave this type of lesson with a sense of achievement and look forward to the next one.

Dog training games

Using dog training games to teach your dog anything will work. In my humble opinion the word games should be used far more frequently at the end of the phrase “dog training”. Even the word gives a good feeling and certainly accentuates the level at which a dog should be taught. By making any learning experience a game for your dog you will be employing positive dog training.

Control and Focus

Old fashioned dog training has claimed that a dog must have respect and be shown dominance. This is neither modern nor proven dog training. Many problems that people encounter with pet dogs can be controlled simply by teaching the dog control and focus. We have all witnessed the frustrated dog walker repeatedly and almost desperately issuing a sit command to an over excited dog. A dog that is that is neither looking at nor paying attention to him. At some point we have probably all been that poor dog walker, I certainly have.

There is no point in asking a dog to do anything if you do not have his attention. There is little point asking for his attention when highly distracted if you have not trained him to focus on you. By using dog training games you can bring your dog to a point where he looks directly to you for a reward when he sees a distraction.

Dog Training Game to Encourage Focus

A brilliant game to encourage control and steady focus is based on reward. It is a simple game that can be carried out over a few minutes, a few times a day and will provide quick and effective results. You will need a reward that the dog likes and a quick hand.

  • A food reward is probably best for this game, tiny pieces of something that the dog likes will be easy to work with and encourage the dog to want more. Smaller frequent treats are very motivating.
  • Get your dog in a sit position (I assume that you have taught your dog to sit), and then drop a treat on the floor. What you will want to do at this point, is reward a good choice on your dog’s part. If your dog lunges or tries to get to the treat, then immediately put your foot over the treat.
  • But on the other hand, if your dog is able to ignore the treat and looks at you, then give him another (and different) treat to reinforce this behavior.
  • When the game is over, you can tell him to “Get It!” so that he can get the treat on the floor, or pick it up and give it to him.
  • By proofing the command and lengthening the amount of time before rewarding, you are establishing focus and control and at the same time playing fun dog training games that allows your dog to think and gives your dog the opportunity to make a choice.
  • Try this with many different distractions, including toys, other people and even other dogs. As long as you have your dog on a leash and that he can’t leave you for the distraction, you should be able to reward the right choice.

When your dog knows to look to you before reacting to something, in this case his treat, he will eventually learn to do the same with other distractions. By employing this focus technique to all your dog training games you will obtain the best results.

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  • Dlankford says:

    Consider never telling him to “get it”: If he always gets different treat from the one he saw first, you will avoid the ambiguity that bothers dogs so much. Sometimes, you WON’T be able to tell him to go ahead and get it (let’s say you dropped a bottle of pills). So it’s better for him to assume always that ‘LEAVE IT” is cue to refocus on you, who will reward him and move on away from the enticement.

  • doggal says:

    same here

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