Games To Play With Your Dog That Are Both Fun And Promote Obedience

Getting Ready for Training:

There are loads of obedience games you can play with your canine companion, and many of them incorporate visual and audible cues. Here are a couple great classics that are tried and proven to be useful. This collection of great games offers a wonderful chance to train at the same time your dog is doing its favorite activity, having fun with their owners and learning without realizing it.

Hide and seek is a fun game from our childhood, but what you might not realize is your dog will absolutely love it. Not to mention the dog needs to use its senses to find you. Your animal has a natural instinct to hunt and search so finding you is a very rewarding experience for it as well. To ensure your dog gets a challenge in this activity its best to play in a large yard or fenced in area so it wont run off and loose focus.

You will first need to ask your dog to stay, and then hide in a nearby place to make it easy at first. Say whatever word you use to get your dog to come over to you after telling it to stay. Your dog should have no problem finding you since you didn’t hide in a difficult place. Now here is where treats can come in handy if your dog has a favorite one I would use it to reward them. You should make sure you increase the difficulty of the game so your dog gets the most out of it.

Now, this game teaches your dog tremendous self-control and patience. Most of you should be familiar with the old street corner game three-card Monte? Well this is oddly reminiscent of that game. To play it, you need your dog’s favorite treats and three cups. As far as indoor games go, this one offers great entertainment. Be careful however, that your dog doesn’t try and chew on the plastic cups.

I do recommend before you play this game with your dog you set it up ahead of time and have the cups on the table. Then, show your dog the treat so it’s clear what they’re playing to get. If you want to be cute you can tell them not to look while you place it under the cup. It likely doesn’t matter if they see where you put it though. Lastly, move the cups around and try and confuse your dog. Then watch as they use their senses to locate the treat under the correct. As always make sure you let them know they did a great job when they find it, that positive reinforcement is what they thrive on, use it to your advantage.

There are my couple suggestions for games to play. Always play in a safe area, not out in the street where cars can come flying past. Always keep a bottle of water handy, if your not home playing in the yard, and you’re in a park for example they will thank you for it.

Dog Agility Training & Competition

Getting Ready for Training:

If you have been seriously considering signing your dog up for agility training, then you should take the proper steps to prepare your k9 companion for what lies in store for them. Now what is dog agility you might ask? It’s a great sport that involves you and your dog, using teamwork towards a common goal. Not only is it quite entertaining to watch, it can be very addictive for the owner and dog alike, once both of you get the hang of it.

Now lets go through how it all works. The Handler directs their dog through an obstacle course of a-frames, weave poles, dog walks, tunnels, jumps, teeter totters, and chutes, in a race for accuracy and over all time.

You can’t however touch your dog or any of the obstacles that’s against the rules. There is also no use of a leash. You can only use visual and audible cues to direct your dog through the course.

Next you should factor in some tips about how to prepare your dog. This will be physical, Show your dog what it will be engaging in throughout any of the serious training. Also, what it will experience later on if you wanted to go into competitions. Ultimately if your paying for training, your instructor will always know when your dog is ready for competition. So, don’t rush towards that too quickly. Ensure your dog is fully trained and is in peak condition.

Getting Ready for Competition:

Obviously your dog needs to be fit, considerably attentive and don’t forget excited to give this their all. It’s also important that they’re jumping confidently to there full height. Unless of course you aren’t aiming for a specific size class for your dog to eventually compete in. Which means over sized obstacles, so the dogs can fit through and between them without knocking them down. Unless you are sure the competitions won’t included weaves. Then just be sure the dog is focused on your commands and excited to be there.

Your dog will also be required to complete full sequences of obstacles pretty fluently. So, remember to be fair to your dog these competitions are a measure of there competence in the sport. Don’t force them to compete prematurely, make sure they’re well prepared for what’s expected of them.

In Closing, it’s important to remember to have fun while doing this. If your not having fun, your dog will sense your tension. This can cause your dog to start acting up, and not following your directions correctly. Always remain calm, content, and over all remember to have fun.

Recognizing Dominant Alpha Dog Behaviors:

Besides the obvious guarding, growling and biting many dogs display a variety of dominant behaviors that commonly go unrecognized by their owners. Very rarely will a dog display his highest level of dominance overnight. There are usually signs leading up to it over course of a few years. Dominant alpha dogs won’t always growl and bite. If you the owner are giving the dog what he wants, there sometimes is no reason for the dog to growl or bite unless they feel challenged.

Dogs generally understand that they exist in a human world. After all, who feeds them and opens the door for them to go outside to potty? When humans perform these tasks on demand from the dog though, why wouldn’t the dog think they’re the leader? It is easy for dogs to get the impression they are alpha in their pack. There are many alpha dog behaviors that are not acceptable in human society, such as biting, which is a communication tactic that a dog may use. It is very important for humans to remain the leaders over their dogs.

Just looking at a dog and the way he presents himself can be a sign for what frame of mind the dog is in. A more dominant dog will walk high and proud, puffing themselves out as much as they can. He carries himself with what looks like dignity to the untrained eye.

Submissive dogs on the other hand carry themselves in very much the opposite way. They hold their heads low with shoulders and tail down, in a sense making them smaller. Generally, it will appear that a submissive dog is a sad dog. Not so, the posture of these submissive dogs is telling all around them that they do not wish to challenge any other dog or that they come in peace. Dogs are animals that will fight amongst each other naturally. This means their natural defense is to fight when they feel threatened. That is why they make it as obvious as possible when they do not wish to have an altercation of any kind.

Since dominant dogs look so proud and submissive dogs look sad since they hold their heads low, it’s no wonder so many people have dominant dogs. When their dog acts submissive they mistake that for a sad dog. When their dog acts dominant they mistake it for a happy proud dog.

Submissive Urination in a Puppy

Submissive wetting or urination is unfortunately a normal way for pups to demonstrate submissive behavior. Even a puppy that is for the most part housetrained may leave dribbles and puddles of urine on the floor by your feet when they greet you.

When it comes to puppies, submissive urination is the ultimate way of showing their respect for you and the desire for a higher rank in the pack. It occurs frequently with young pups that have not yet learned and perfected very important social skills. Submissive urination in adult puppies is more than likely a sign of insecurity. Often pups that are not socialized or unfortunately in some cases abused pups will submissively urinate. Other puppies that engage in submissive urination may simply have not been shown or demonstrated that there are more acceptable ways to show respect. Such as raising a paw for a hand shake or giving a kiss with a simple lick.

Submissive urination may be present in overly sensitive or mistreated puppies because they feel the need to constantly apologize. The root cause of this state of mind is often caused by excessive or delayed punishment. This of course will frighten and confuse the puppy without having taught him how to make amends in a proper manner. The puppy resorts to the only way he knows how to show respect and fear, by submissive urination. When your puppy submissively urinates, it is best to just ignore him. If you try to reassure him, he will think you are praising him for urinating and will in turn urinate more frequently. If you raise your voice and yell at him, he will feel an even greater need to apologize by urinating. Both reassurance and scolding will only make submissive urination a much bigger issue.

Treatment of submissive urination must be directed towards building your puppy’s confidence and showing him better ways of demonstrating and showing respect. The quickest way to accomplish this is by teaching your puppy a few basic obedience exercises. A puppy that can earn praise by obeying a simple routine of “Come here, sit, shake hands,” will soon develop a crucial level of self esteem and confidence. Therefore a more confident puppy with high self esteem who can say, “Hello” by simply sitting and shaking hands does not feel the need or urge to urinate at his owner’s feet.

Diagnosis for Separation Anxiety in Dogs:

First, understand that your dog is not trying to get even with you for leaving him home alone. The destructive behaviors, going potty on the floor and neurotic behavior that accompany dog separation anxiety are linked to a panic response. Luckily, for you the owner, the panic response is a behavior that is successfully modified with corrective, positive reinforcement to help calm nerves and promote your dog’s confidence and wellbeing.

No one fully understands why there’s some dog that suffer anxieties more than others when some dogs don’t at all. However, it is known that dog separation anxiety sometimes occurs when a significant change in routine, structure or surroundings such as the absence of an important companion. This may also occur when moving into a new home, a new pet or person in the family, or perhaps a change in the normal feeding schedule.

Before we get into the process of what to do about dog separation anxiety, let’s spend a moment going over what NOT to do. First and foremost, don’t punish your dog. Punishment of any form is NOT an effective way to treat dog separation anxiety as well as any unwanted behaviors. A response such as this, on the part of the owner (you) only serves to reinforce the behavior you’re trying to do away with.

Providing another pet as a potential companion for your dog won’t exactly help either. Dog separation anxiety stems from your dog being separated from you and not so much from being alone. Being unable to play with another animal isn’t the same as just being plain old bored. There is a major difference between boredom and loneliness.

Incarcerating a dog with separation anxiety in a crate is also not the answer, nor a solution. A dog’s nature is to be free. A nervous dog locked in a crate is now left with a heightened panic response but now with a build up of paranoia and desperation on top of it. The added risk of your dog injuring himself in an attempt to escape from the crate is also heightened.

Obedience training alone will not address this psychological problem. Although, there is no question that obedience training is a satisfying and worthwhile experience for the both of you to enjoy. Dog separation anxiety is an uncorrected panic response and is unrelated to obedience as well as disobedience.

Dog Training with Positive Reinforcement:

Positive reinforcement dog training is a friendly method of teaching your dog to perform behaviors using dog food, treats and other positive actions in the form of a reward. Rewarding appropriate dog behavior makes that behavior more likely to become a future re-occurrence. This is one of the most powerful tools you can use to reshape or change your dog’s actions. Using positive reinforcement dog training teaches your dog what behaviors you do and don’t desire in a humane manner. This training method will also help to create healthier and much stronger bond between you and your dog.

Training based on physical punishment involves some level of discomfort or even pain and is most definitely not recommended. This also may cause your dog to bite in order to defend himself. Punishment may also be associated with other stimuli, including people, present at the time and occurrence of the punishment. For example, a dog that is punished for getting too close to a small child may become fearful or even defensive around that child.

When getting started, timing is key with positive reinforcement dog training. Your dog must be rewarded immediately for responding appropriately to your command. Every member of your family should use the same command system and of course, never reinforce the wrong behavior. For example, if you command your dog to sit, he should be given a treat the moment his bottom touches the floor. If you wait to long before giving him the treat after he stands up again, the moment will be lost. He will then think he is getting rewarded for standing, not sitting.

Most dogs will gladly work for positive rewards such as a tasty dog treat, play time and toys. We suggest that you choose a treat that is relatively small, soft, and easily broken apart. Treats should be highly valued by your dog as well as easy consumption. It is difficult to train a dog when he spends valuable time chewing and swallowing his reward. You want your dog to quickly eat the treat and look to you for more. Try to experiment with several different types of treats and find out which ones will work best. There are some dogs out there that are not motivated by food. If this is the case, try training using praise or build motivation through the company of other dogs.

Tips for Avoiding Common Dog Training Mistakes: (Part 1)

One of the easiest mistakes that can be made when training your dog is not paying attention. If your attention is elsewhere for even a short while, suddenly you may find that your puppy is off doing unspeakable things to you’re your furniture in the living room. You can not properly correct him unless you catch him red handed. All puppies have an incredibly short attention span. So, even just five minutes ago no longer exists. They will not make the mental connection when you are yelling about something they did minutes ago. When you can not pay attention to your puppy, he should then be in a safe place, like his crate, or perhaps by your side at all times.

Your dog will not know he has done something right when you fail to reward him for his good behavior. It is also crucial to communicate your praise to him in a language he can understand. The rewards do not necessarily always have to be something such as a treat. No matter what reward you may go with, your dog will need to connect the reward to his action in order for him to get the correct message. Instant praise is the best reward you could ever give. It’s instant gratification for your dog, and gives you a few seconds to provide the tasty treat reward if you have one. Those few seconds will fill in the gap between “Yay, I did things right!” and “Wow, what did I ever do to deserve an outcome like this?” This is extremely important during the earlier stages of the training process. This is especially true for when you are trying to get your dog to correlate his actions to your commands.

Another common mistake is to put things off for much too long. You may look at your little puppy, and think “it’s not absolutely necessary for him to need to learn anything just yet”. But what about walking on a leash, stay, coming when you call? This is especially true when a puppy’s natural instinct is to generally be by your side anyway, without incentive. But if you let things go for too long, your pup will not want to cooperate any longer. Training while your pup is still relatively young is the most solid way to get the basics into your dog’s head for good.

Tips for Avoiding Common Dog Training Mistakes: (Part 2)

Allowing your dog to beg is a common training mistake. A dog that has never received food from you when you are eating at the table will no longer continue to beg. He might try it once or twice early on in your relationship. With consistent “no’s” and “go lay down” commands will quickly discourage him from further attempts. However, if you give in, even just once and give him a piece of you are eating, he’ll know that begging worked. Therefore, with common sense, your dog will gain the idea that what works once, will eventually work again.

Inconsistency may seem like such a small thing, but it may leave you destined to fail. Constantly measured attention is absolutely essential when training your dog. Deviate away from any routine you may have built up will almost always undo all that hard work you have done previous.

Calling your dog for punishment will not get you anywhere. Let us focus on why it’s not good to call your dog to your side in order to get mad at him. Nobody wants to go over to someone when they know they are going to get in trouble. This is even true with adults, children, and especially a dog. People know you’re not likely to forget your anger, but a dog is hopeful, and will try everything to avoid you if he knows you’re angry. In your dogs mind, every time you call him to you in order to do something unpleasant, you are punishing him for returning to you. So, if your dog is in trouble, or you have to do something he won’t like, go and get him, instead of calling him.

Rewarding the wrong behavior will happen to all of us at some point or another. This is one of the most common mistakes made when dog training. You may not even think of it as necessarily rewarding your dog. You may see it as a method of comforting him when he’s frightened, or perhaps letting him in when he barks, or even giving him a stern talking to when ever he misbehaves. Attention of any kind when a dog misbehaves is a signal to the dog. The dog may interpret this attention as this works, it’s not quite what I was looking for, but it’s still some kind of attention.” Even negative attention may seem better than none at all.

Teach your dog to Stand, Rollover, Crawl, Lay Down and Focus:

Teach your dog to Stand:
Starting from the sitting position, hold a treat right in front of the nose of your dog, then say stand. Then move the treat above him so that he will have to stand in order to reach it. As soon as he stands say good boy! Then wait for him to sit back down to give him the treat. While he is standing you can move just a few steps while holding the treat. Praise him a lot if he follows you.

Teach your dog to Rollover:
Starting from the laying position, say roll over and then proceed to roll your dog over gently. Do this by grabbing his legs and then pull him, or simply push him from one side so that he makes a complete roll. After he has completed the roll, make him sit, praise him and give him the treat.

Teach your dog to Crawl:
Starting from the laying position, say crawl while holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose and move it a few inches away from him. If he begins to stand up, just say no crawl, start from the beginning and have him lay back down again. Praise him a lot and give him the treat as soon as he crawls, even if it’s only a few inches.

Teach your dog to Lay Down:
There are various ways to do this. Begin with having your dog sit then say, lay. Then present the treat in front of his mouth, going all the way down to the ground with your hand. The dog will naturally follow your hand and will end up lying down. Give him the treat only when he stretches his forearms in front of him and then praise.

Teach your dog to Focus:
Begin by sitting or kneeling, in front of your dog. Hide your hands so he won’t be distracted looking at them and then say your dog’s name followed by saying focus. As soon as he looks at you in the eyes start praising him. Always keep eye contact and after a few seconds give him a treat. If he looks elsewhere, just call him again and begin to start over. Try to extend the time while he’s focused on you.

Helpful Drills for Dog Agility Training:

Learning to handle your dog properly is a major role in dog agility training. This means communicating what you want your dog to do. Once your dog has the basics down, most errors that occur are due to the handler’s abilities. As a handler, you need to learn how to communicate what you want your dog to do or perform. One way to do that is to practice exercises that teach you how to better handle your dog.

Every dog has his own way of running the course. Some dogs need little guidance while others need the handler by their side at all times. By watching your dog and how much he relies on you to complete the course, you’ll be able to determine how much handling your dog needs.

To properly access the situation, try setting up two basic hurdles side by side and direct your dog to the right hurdle. Study your dog’s reaction as you send him to the hurdle. Does your dog leave your side or does your dog expect you to run or walk with him the entire way?

Then try making the course into an “S” shape where you’ll be starting on the inside line and crossing over in the middle so that you will stay on the inside line. Try first with a fast obstacle such as a hurdle, tunnel or series of hurdles in the center of the course. Send your dog over the hurdles and cross behind your dog so that you switch effortlessly.

Next, put a slow obstacle in the center of the course such as weave poles, a table or contact obstacle. Then continue with your dog until he gets to the downward edge of the contact obstacle. This will most likely be the second to last pole of the weaves. Cross in front of the dog and then continue him over to the next obstacle of the course.

Try handling your dog first using the inside line and then moving onto the outside line to get a proper feel for handling either side of the course. If you have a very fast paced dog, then you will have to slow him down while you take the outer line. Likewise, if you have a slower paced dog, then you may have to slow down on the inside line, then work on speeding your dogs performance.