Listed here are five easy command training games for preparing your dog to walk off-leash.
This game is perfect for the active dog who needs a lot of reinforcement with recall. For this game, the more people, the better. Form a small circle around your dog and arm each person with a few treats. One at a time, each person should use the dog’s recall command. As your dog’s recall skills improve, increase the size of the circle.
When your dog is off-leash, you should have one command that you know will always bring your dog running to you immediately. Once or twice per day, use a high-value reward to practice recall. Use your dog’s recall command, followed by the name of the treat or toy. Only give your dog this treat when practicing high-reward recall to keep your pet’s interest engaged.
Your dog should only associate recall with positive experiences. One way to reinforce recall is to turn a drill session into a fun game of chase. In a fenced yard, run away from your dog while excitedly using your recall command. Your dog will soon think that recall is a fun game with a favorite human!
Hide and Seek
Another fun game for reinforcing recall is to play hide and go seek inside your home. This game is especially useful for preparing your dog to walk off-leash because it teaches your dog to return to you by the sound of your voice. Simply hide in another room, use your dog’s recall command, and call for your dog to find you.
Puppy in the Middle
For this final game, your dog will learn how to redirect his or her attention from a distraction. Two people should stand a significant distance apart. One person should use the dog’s recall command. As the dog is running towards this person, the second person should call the dog to him or her. When the dog turns around and runs toward the second person, the dog should be rewarded with plenty of praise and positive reinforcement. Continue playing this game by calling the dog away from the first person at random intervals.
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