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Yappy Holiday Season

Yappy Holiday Season –

Fun games for you and your dog

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You might have heard this before, but dogs learn with every interaction we have with them. You might have heard this before as well, and that is that the current scientific theory is that dogs are amoral. They do not know right from wrong, they do however know safe and unsafe. Generally, that is how dogs would observe us, and get to know us. They eventually become excellent at predicting our patterns, what we are going to do next or how we might react to something. So without getting to technical, you can teach your dog so much, without having to set up a formal training session, and without having to carry around treats all the time.   Here are a couple of things you can try,

Back-up: I bet you and your dog meet up in the hallway fairly often right? They tend to follow us or eventually come to see what we are up too. So in this instance, start shuffling your feet forwards (towards the dog) and cheerfully say, back-up… back-up and praise your dog for moving backwards even if it’s just one little step. The more often you do this with your dog, the quicker they will learn it. It’s a fun little game that literally takes two-to-three seconds and your dog gets a helluva kick out of it.

Not only is this fun, but it is a really important exercise for dogs with regards to body awareness!

Heeee-ur! : I’m just thinking that this might be a good word to use, I personally use ‘puuppies!’ You can use your own word, anyhow this is just for some fun random recalls. While your dogs are gallivanting in the garden, have a treat ready for each dog and just call them using your word. They might find this new word interesting enough to come check out what your are going on about and if they do they each get a yummy treat and lots of praise. If they ignore you flat you can ad their name to it. This will take some time to build up, but it’s a couple of seconds or minutes (depending on how big your garden is and how interesting it is out there) out of your day, and guess what the dogs love it because it’s just a fun run to the house for some treats with no strings attached, they can go back outside to finish their tree-mail.

Say my name, say my name! Does your dog respond to his name? We get so many dogs coming into the shelter who has a name, but doesn’t know it’s his or hers. So we need to teach them their names that they might have had for at least two years!   Sounds odd, but it happens more often than you’d think. Or maybe they’ve stopped responding to their name because it forecasts trouble. So while you are having your morning coffee and reading your newspa… uhm… tablet, cheerfully say your dog’s name. And make a fuss if he/she responds. He might come up to you, of course, so give him a bit of a cuddle. So this exercise is also quite important, because well, we want our dogs to know and love their names.

There are many more little games like this, and I’m sure you’d be able to come up with some of your own. The great thing about it is that these games does not always have to involve food rewards, just getting to play is a big reward in itself and it does amazing things for your relationship with your dogs. The important thing though, is not to get upset if your dog does not play along at first, because guess what, they will not feel safe and they will not enjoy the interaction and it will not be a positive learning experience for them.

Have some fun this holiday season with your dog, catch up on dog-tales and fun interactions, after all, it’s the time for family.   From my own little family of five dogs, five rats, Alice and the misunderstood furries in my care, have a blessed Holiday season and we will meet again in 2017.

By Tersha, Trainer

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