Open 7 days

The “Go To” Game – Stage One – Karen Phillips

When we decide to bring a puppy into our lives we take not only responsibility for his physical well being, but also his mental well being.  Unfortunately for most of us we have to go to work from Monday to Friday each and every week. If you’re in this situation it means that your dog will have to spend the bulk of the day by himself and without enough physical and mental stimulation, this often leads to mischief in the backyard. 

One trip to Better Pets and Gardens will introduce you to the amazing selection of toys, treat balls and doggy chew treats that are available to help keep these little bundles of energy entertained while you’re not home.  There are also a variety of things you can do when you are home with your puppy that provides mental stimulation which will go a long way towards your pup growing up to be a well adjusted adult.

Without doubt, daily exercise is essential.  Sometimes too much emphasis is placed on just taking a dog for a walk rather than finding the time to actively interact with him as well.  Real interaction is you and your dog, face to face, playing together and not just you being on the other end of a lead.  As my own pups grow up I introduce interactive training sessions as part of their daily learning process.  What I teach a pup during these interactive sessions are things that are not only fun and easy for him to learn but useful skills to have in day to day life.

One of these games is when I teach my pup to go to a special bed or mat and lie down on it.  Once he learns the skill of going to the mat when asked I teach him to stay there until he is allowed to get off.  This game can come in extremely handy when you have visitors or alternatively when you are visiting someone and you have your dog with you.  By simply taking the dog’s mat along you can pop the dog on the mat and have him stay there rather than wandering around the house or jumping on people.  Those of you that attended the Better Pets and Gardens dog training workshops with me would have seen Riot demonstrating how handy the mat game can be!

This is a game you can teach in the comfort of your lounge room.  Before you start it is very important to get yourself organised.  Remove all distractions from the area so that you have your pup’s undivided attention.  Make sure you have a large quantity of your pup’s favourite food rewards.   Grab what will become your pups “special” mat which you will only initially bring out during training sessions so that it becomes even more special.  Put the mat on the ground and stand very close to it with your pup on lead.  Be prepared to reward your pup with a treat immediately that he goes anywhere near the mat.  This is the starting point.  It is not necessary for your pup to sit or lie down at this point you just want to encourage your pup to get on the mat.  Remember the golden rule, reinforcement builds behaviour.  The more you reinforce the behaviour of the pup going to and getting on the mat, the more likely it is that your pup will want to repeat it.  As with all puppy training sessions, keep each one short since they get distracted easily and, most importantly, make it fun!

Next month I will talk about what to do once your pup is actively trying to get on the mat when you first get it out.

Comments are closed.

Verified by MonsterInsights