Playing with your dog (part II)

Another good idea is to combine training and playing.
Example: If you take your dog for a walk in open space, like a park, the mountain, a beach etc, and your dog starts walking away from you. Then a good thing to do is not to call him/her back, you can turn and start walking to the opposite direction. As soon as your dog understands that you are not close s/he will come back to you. As soon as s/he does that you can praise and pet him/her. This is a very good exercise in order to make your dog follow you when s/he is unleashed and also a great way to show him/her who the leader is in a very nice and effective way.

Examples of unacceptable ways of playing with your dog include:
Teasing, slapping, wrestling, chasing, allowing him/her to bark at you. You should not allow your dog to demand that you play with him/her. Also you should not use your hands as a toy, allowing him to nip, and tug-of-war.

Playing with your dog

The first step is to find the appropriate play and chew toys for your puppy. Some examples are:

  • Kong or Rhino toys
  • Nylabones
  • Hard rubber balls large enough so they don’t get stuck in your dog’s throat
  • Soft flying disks
  • Interactive play toys like Buster cube (a square box where you can put food in)

Some examples of unacceptable toys are:

  • Tennis balls and stuffed toys
  • Ropes and similar, as such toys can lead some dogs to become aggressive
  • Rubber toys that can be chewed into little pieces, as these can be threatening to your dog’s health

In order to make the desired toys attractive to your dog, they must become a main source of interaction between you and your dog. Play with your dog and his/her toys. If you also appraise the dog when playing with the toys, you will make him/her seek them out on their own. When s/he seeks them out you should praise this behavior.

A great game to play with your dog is fetch using a toy that you are holding. You throw the toy and give the “fetch” order to your dog. The desired reaction would be for the dog to bring back the toy and either leaves it in front of your feet or in your hands. This can happen either on its own or after you giving the command. In case the dog doesn’t bring back the toy, s/he runs off, refuses to give it back or just stops playing, then you should stop playing for 10-15 minutes.