Focus fun game
Playing the focus game will help your pup learn to “check in’ with you often to see if you need focus.
HOW to teach
- You can start by saying pups name or better yet stand and wait for pup to look at you
- The instant pup looks at you “YES” and treat
- We want pup to check in with you to see what’s next so pay up any time pup looks at you
- When your pup is consistently checking in with you, try adding a bit of a distraction, have someone walk past or throw a piece of food away and wait for pup to re-orintate back to you.
Do this as a game every day for best results and increase the focus difficulty as you go.
If you notice fear or anxiety early on to thunder or fireworks where the pup is panting and showing signs of fear please get in touch so we can help you.
Food for thought – If your child was scared of needles would you put them there on their own and tell them to deal with it?… Probably not you would likely comfort them and help them not be so scared, then the doctor would follow up with a lollipop. This, in turn, teaching the child they get good things when scary things happen. Your puppy is this child. We forget how young they really are and born in a world of rules and scary stuff with no English spoken you need to convince them to like the scary stuff.
Fear is a genuine condition and if you see excessive signs with no improvement you may need some extra help, please get in touch before going out to buy any “recommended” products or flooding the dog with what it is scared of.
This Hide and Seek game is a lot of fun for the whole family. Not only does it help the pup with auditory, sensory and visual skills it is a great relationship-building exercise.
The key is to initially make it obvious where you are hiding and then increase the challenger as you and puppy learn to play.
Remember not to say “come” we don’t want to make it hard and let the puppy fail if they can’t come and find us on the first call. When puppy gets to you make a big thing of it and play a game of tug or fetch.
Here’s How it should look
Reflex recall – Coming back when called
Teaching your dog to come back when called is something we all aspire to achieve. We must remember to keep it exciting and always remember you are competing with an exciting world that the dog may not get to see every day. Start by teaching this exercise on Leash and in less distracting environments.
How to teach’
- This one is a little bit different when we first teach it to our dog, the aim of the method is to help your dog understand”COME’ as a reflex response eliminating the idle time of the dog making the decision of whether what they have or what they are doing is better than the high probability of treats they would get if they choose to come. We start by building a VERY STRONG POSITIVE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE to the word come. Similar to the reaction to the bridge word you previously taught.
- It’s important to never use the “COME cue in a negative way , if your dog already associates Come with ignoring you try a word such as “here ” Use a cheerful, inviting and excited tone of voice as you say COME once.
- Remember that “voice cues are precious” and should be protected. Aim for a 100% success rate – after one call, the dog knows good stuff happens right in front of you really really close.. In any situation where the dog is less likely to respond to your call, such as off lead at the park while he is distracted, DO NOT CALL “COME.” Wait until you have built more reliability.
- Start by simply calling come with the dog right in front of you on lead and reward promptly – repeat this several times until the dog reflex looks at you and is close to recieve the food.
- Step two – which you will learn in the coming weeks – you will step away slightly and call come, the reflex and dogs action should be immediate! Continue to increase distance and distraction in your training and always pay up! Treats Toy, game -The more predictable you are the more reliable your dog will become and will even come to you out of a play session!
Tips: never call your dog for anything negative, ( this is what the dog thinks is negative, bath, nails clip, go outside, away from play etc)Always make it happen by choosing to recall at the appropriate time when the dog is likely to pay attention when training.
Here’s How it should Look!
Co-operative care – Chin rest
Co-operative care is important so your puppy can learn to WILLINGLY” engage in what it doesn’t like. If done correctly this chin rest exercise can be used to clean teeth later or inspect the face of your puppy. Co-operative care bases itself on your puppy cooperating willingly because the event has a history of delivering good stuff!
Start with your open hand under the puppies chin and the other with food on the other side as in the video. When puppy reached for it and therefore touching your palm “yes” and treat ( repeat) Continue this exercise for a few goes.
If puppy disengages, make it boring but wait it out, pup will likely decide to come back and try again. Patience is key here.
Next week we will look at shaping our dog for co-operative care.
Separation Anxiety can cause a lot of stress for your pup and your family if you don’t act on it quickly. In the early stages ensure your puppy has a safe area to sleep or consider daycare if you are going to be out of the house for long periods of time.
Start training at the very beginning of your morning leave routine, this maybe when you get dressed, grab keys anything small can trigger anxiety in your puppy.
Begin with short pop-outs leaving puppy with some fun stuff to play with kongs, toys, etc no more than a few minutes and return very low key.
slowly increase the time and level of rewards. Eventually your pup won’t miss you and will come to expect something amazing when you are leaving.
Make sure puppy has a nice safe place to spend the time.
Check out our Backyard enrichment ideas for entertaining your dog.