Play these family-oriented dog and puppy training games to master good dog behavior and basic commands. Please be sure to supervise all play that involves children.
‘Get It’ – ‘Drop’
This game will teach your dog to willingly release objects from its mouth when asked. Any object you start teaching this with, should be large enough for your dog to hold one end, while you hold the other. A length of heavy, soft knotted rope or a large, sturdy stuffed plush toy works well.
Start by wiggling the toy to make it interesting. In a playful voice, say “get it” and let your pup grab on. Praise and allow the dog to chew and play with the toy while you hold the other end. After a few moments, say “drop” and offer your dog a treat from your other hand, holding it about six inches away from the side of its mouth. The dog will see and smell the treat and will let go of the toy to get the treat.
Don’t pull the toy away, just continue holding it. As soon as your dog eats the treat, offer the toy back, saying “get it”. Praise him for taking hold and let it play for a few moments before again saying, “drop” and trading it for another treat.
Repeat this sequence until your dog quickly releases the toy when you say “drop”. Your dog will learn that it doesn’t lose the object by giving it to you. Then try saying “drop” without showing the dog a treat-swap.
Most dogs will release right away, expecting a treat. If your dog releases the toy, praise and immediately hand it back with a playful flourish, saying “get it”. The toy itself and the fun of grabbing and playing with it becomes a reward.
This game teaches the dog to come when family members call it. Start by teaching your dog to come for a treat reward. If your dog responds to being called, start adding family members to the game one at a time. Give each player several dog treats to use as rewards. Deliver one treat reward to the dog each time it comes when called.
Start with two people, standing about ten feet apart. First, one person calls the dog and rewards it with a treat, and then the other takes a turn and does the same. More players can be added as soon as the dog seems to understand the game.
When the dog is eagerly racing to each person who calls it, start increasing the distance between players. As your dog gains skill and enthusiasm for this game, try playing in a more stimulating environment, like the beach or the dog park.