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Training

Toys – not just a play thing

A dog’s behaviour is influenced by the games he plays as a puppy. A game is a structured activity, undertaken for enjoyment and also used as an educational tool. Games are played with toys, which are important to develop character, skills, creativity, security and social acceptability. Here are more on different types of toys available.

Most dogs have lots of toys. Unfortunately, unless used correctly, more behaviour problems can occur due to incorrect use of toys than any other single factor. Toys can be divided into three main groups:

  1. Chasing Toys/Fetch Toys – Ball, Frisbee and Disc, etc: These toys play on the dog’s natural desire to
    Anand Pittie

    Anand Pittie

    chase after moving prey. Dogs love to chase a toy, such as a ball. But, if not trained correctly, he may decide to chase the person’s hand holding his ball. Sometimes, if a child picks up the ball and runs, he will chase the child. This behaviour should not be encouraged. Train him to chase only the toy – not anything and everything.

  2. Chew Toys – Squeaky Toys, Rag to Shake, etc: Dogs love chewing- chew toys ensure that he does not do damage at home. These toys are based on the dog’s instinct to catch, bite and shake. Squeaky toys build on a dog’s curiosity. Never give a dog an old slipper to chew and then expect him to differentiate between an old and an expensive pair of shoes.
  3. Tug Toys – Rubber Ring, Pull Rope, etc: The dog uses these toys to play games of strength, dominance and possession, usually ‘inviting’ the pet parent to play. These toys are designed to allow the dog to ‘own’. The dog needs to be properly trained for the same. Stop the game when you think that the dog is pulling too hard.

Tips to follow…

  • Keep the play sessions with the toys small.
  • After the play session, keep the toys away from the reach of the dog.
  • Use toys to communicate with your dogs. A good behaviour can be rewarded with a pat on his back and/or treat.
  • Look for toys in which you can put frozen treats to keep your dog busy while you are away.
  • Do ensure the toys are of good quality.
  • Choose toys according to the age and interest of your pet.
  • Look for interactive toys which stimulate your dog’s mind.
  • It is very important to supervise your dog when you give him a chew toy.
  • Ensure that a toy is safe for your pet.
  • Pick only toys which are made for dogs.
  • If a toy splinters immediately discard it.
  • Never buy cheap plastic toys.

 

(Anand Pittie of ABK Imports is a certified canine consultant and canine trainer).

Woof! I love to play – ground training for agility

Training can be fun for both you and your dog. Teaching games is a part of ground training for agility. So, tighten your belts, pull up your socks and play with your pooch.

Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Agility is totally based on communication and teamwork between handler and his dog. It is very important for handler to spend quality time in creating a bond with his dog in the initial stages of training.

What motivates your dog?

As a handler we have to find out what motivates our dog to work with us. Different dogs work for different things. Some may work for treats, while others love to play with toys. It’s called a ‘dog’s drive’. Some have a high toy drive, while others have high food drive.

Simple and useful games for agility

Tug-of-War: A good game of Tug-of-War with a rope toy or rope Kong can be very exciting and encouraging for any dog. Initially, we can use soft ropes to make it easier and comfortable for the dog to tug on it and to hold on to it. Once he learns how to pull it, we can slowly increase the pressure and/or increase the duration of the game. It’s also important to teach them to ‘leave’ the toy when asked. Let your dog win this game more often than you win it, to maintain that excitement throughout training session. Treats can be used to teach him to leave the toy when asked.

Fetch: Dogs love to chase things and play with it. A good game of ‘Fetch’ with dog’s favourite toy can be very helpful in gearing him up before the training session. Different toys such as balls, flying discs, rings, kongs, squeaky toys can be used for fetching, depending on the dog’s preference. You can also develop a habit of using any particular toy only during training sessions as it becomes highly motivational for the dog. Toys used while training should be sturdy, compact and safe for dogs even during rough use.

Bait Bag: This is a unique pouch designed specially for dogs who are equally motivated by food and toys. You can stuff this pouch with tasty treats and lock it. You can teach your dog to play ‘Tug of war’ or ‘Fetch’ with it and also use the treats while praising the dog. Teaching him to leave or give it back to you is a must as dogs tend to run away with it. Bait bag should be used carefully with food possessive dogs to avoid any accidents.

Warm Up Sessions: A good short walk can be a great warm up for both handler and his dog. A short play session with his favourite toy helps him to focus on you and to build up his excitement.

I like to use a particular phrase to get the dog started for a fun filled training session. Every time I say “Are you ready” to my dog, he knows what I mean and gets very excited. You can also ask your dog to speak couple of times, give HiFi or shake hands, do roll over, etc. Just do anything that your dog loves to do for you.

Basic obedience: a must It’s a must to teach your dog some basic commands like Sit, Down, etc. This training always comes handy during agility course. Teaching a dog to Stay in either sit or down position also proves very useful. It’s very important to teach a “Release Command” to a dog to break the Stay position. You can use commands like “OK” or “Over” for such purpose. If the dog exactly knows when to stay and when to break it, handling him during agility course becomes easier and saves your time as well. Basic commands should only be used when required or else too much obedience can spoil the fun of agility.

Teaching ‘recall’

A quick recall can be very useful during agility course. You can use special treats just for recall while training your dog, so he learns to return to you faster when called. You can save a lot of time during the course with a good recall and it also helps to control your dog with distractions.

Creating foundation for agility

If a handler spends enough time practicing this basic training with his dog, he can create a strong foundation for agility. It helps him create a bond with his dog and also helps the dog to communicate better with him during the course. Time required to teach and practice Basic Agility Training is different for every dog, depending on his breed, motivation, energy level, age and many more things. It’s definitely worth spending your time and effort for successful agility training.

– by Pooja Sathe

(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK.)


Woof! I love to play – ground training for agility

Training can be fun for both you and your dog. Teaching games is a part of ground training for agility. So, tighten your belts, pull up your socks and play with your pooch.

Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Agility is totally based on communication and teamwork between handler and his dog. It is very important for handler to spend quality time in creating a bond with his dog in the initial stages of training.

What motivates your dog?

As a handler we have to find out what motivates our dog to work with us. Different dogs work for different things. Some may work for treats, while others love to play with toys. It’s called a ‘dog’s drive’. Some have a high toy drive, while others have high food drive.

Simple and useful games for agility

Tug-of-War: A good game of Tug-of-War with a rope toy or rope Kong can be very exciting and encouraging for any dog. Initially, we can use soft ropes to make it easier and comfortable for the dog to tug on it and to hold on to it. Once he learns how to pull it, we can slowly increase the pressure and/or increase the duration of the game. It’s also important to teach them to ‘leave’ the toy when asked. Let your dog win this game more often than you win it, to maintain that excitement throughout training session. Treats can be used to teach him to leave the toy when asked.

Fetch: Dogs love to chase things and play with it. A good game of ‘Fetch’ with dog’s favourite toy can be very helpful in gearing him up before the training session. Different toys such as balls, flying discs, rings, kongs, squeaky toys can be used for fetching, depending on the dog’s preference. You can also develop a habit of using any particular toy only during training sessions as it becomes highly motivational for the dog. Toys used while training should be sturdy, compact and safe for dogs even during rough use.

Bait Bag: This is a unique pouch designed specially for dogs who are equally motivated by food and toys. You can stuff this pouch with tasty treats and lock it. You can teach your dog to play ‘Tug of war’ or ‘Fetch’ with it and also use the treats while praising the dog. Teaching him to leave or give it back to you is a must as dogs tend to run away with it. Bait bag should be used carefully with food possessive dogs to avoid any accidents.

Warm Up Sessions: A good short walk can be a great warm up for both handler and his dog. A short play session with his favourite toy helps him to focus on you and to build up his excitement.

I like to use a particular phrase to get the dog started for a fun filled training session. Every time I say “Are you ready” to my dog, he knows what I mean and gets very excited. You can also ask your dog to speak couple of times, give HiFi or shake hands, do roll over, etc. Just do anything that your dog loves to do for you.

Basic obedience: a must It’s a must to teach your dog some basic commands like Sit, Down, etc. This training always comes handy during agility course. Teaching a dog to Stay in either sit or down position also proves very useful. It’s very important to teach a “Release Command” to a dog to break the Stay position. You can use commands like “OK” or “Over” for such purpose. If the dog exactly knows when to stay and when to break it, handling him during agility course becomes easier and saves your time as well. Basic commands should only be used when required or else too much obedience can spoil the fun of agility.

Teaching ‘recall’

A quick recall can be very useful during agility course. You can use special treats just for recall while training your dog, so he learns to return to you faster when called. You can save a lot of time during the course with a good recall and it also helps to control your dog with distractions.

Creating foundation for agility

If a handler spends enough time practicing this basic training with his dog, he can create a strong foundation for agility. It helps him create a bond with his dog and also helps the dog to communicate better with him during the course. Time required to teach and practice Basic Agility Training is different for every dog, depending on his breed, motivation, energy level, age and many more things. It’s definitely worth spending your time and effort for successful agility training.

– by Pooja Sathe

(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK.)

Woof! I love to play – ground training for agility

Training can be fun for both you and your dog. Teaching games is a part of ground training for agility. So, tighten your belts, pull up your socks and play with your pooch.

Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Agility is totally based on communication and teamwork between handler and his dog. It is very important for handler to spend quality time in creating a bond with his dog in the initial stages of training.

What motivates your dog?

As a handler we have to find out what motivates our dog to work with us. Different dogs work for different things. Some may work for treats, while others love to play with toys. It’s called a ‘dog’s drive’. Some have a high toy drive, while others have high food drive.

Simple and useful games for agility

Tug-of-War: A good game of Tug-of-War with a rope toy or rope Kong can be very exciting and encouraging for any dog. Initially, we can use soft ropes to make it easier and comfortable for the dog to tug on it and to hold on to it. Once he learns how to pull it, we can slowly increase the pressure and/or increase the duration of the game. It’s also important to teach them to ‘leave’ the toy when asked. Let your dog win this game more often than you win it, to maintain that excitement throughout training session. Treats can be used to teach him to leave the toy when asked.

Fetch: Dogs love to chase things and play with it. A good game of ‘Fetch’ with dog’s favourite toy can be very helpful in gearing him up before the training session. Different toys such as balls, flying discs, rings, kongs, squeaky toys can be used for fetching, depending on the dog’s preference. You can also develop a habit of using any particular toy only during training sessions as it becomes highly motivational for the dog. Toys used while training should be sturdy, compact and safe for dogs even during rough use.
Bait Bag: This is a unique pouch designed specially for dogs who are equally motivated by food and toys. You can stuff this pouch with tasty treats and lock it. You can teach your dog to play ‘Tug of war’ or ‘Fetch’ with it and also use the treats while praising the dog. Teaching him to leave or give it back to you is a must as dogs tend to run away with it. Bait bag should be used carefully with food possessive dogs to avoid any accidents.

Warm Up Sessions: A good short walk can be a great warm up for both handler and his dog. A short play session with his favourite toy helps him to focus on you and to build up his excitement.

I like to use a particular phrase to get the dog started for a fun filled training session. Every time I say “Are you ready” to my dog, he knows what I mean and gets very excited. You can also ask your dog to speak couple of times, give HiFi or shake hands, do roll over, etc. Just do anything that your dog loves to do for you.

Basic obedience: a must It’s a must to teach your dog some basic commands like Sit, Down, etc. This training always comes handy during agility course. Teaching a dog to Stay in either sit or down position also proves very useful. It’s very important to teach a “Release Command” to a dog to break the Stay position. You can use commands like “OK” or “Over” for such purpose. If the dog exactly knows when to stay and when to break it, handling him during agility course becomes easier and saves your time as well. Basic commands should only be used when required or else too much obedience can spoil the fun of agility.

Teaching ‘recall’

A quick recall can be very useful during agility course. You can use special treats just for recall while training your dog, so he learns to return to you faster when called. You can save a lot of time during the course with a good recall and it also helps to control your dog with distractions.

Creating foundation for agility

If a handler spends enough time practicing this basic training with his dog, he can create a strong foundation for agility. It helps him create a bond with his dog and also helps the dog to communicate better with him during the course. Time required to teach and practice Basic Agility Training is different for every dog, depending on his breed, motivation, energy level, age and many more things. It’s definitely worth spending your time and effort for successful agility training.

– by Pooja Sathe
(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK.)

Games 4 paws 2 play

Here are some games that paws would love to play! The fun moments spent with your pet would bring the two of you closer and establish a lasting bond.

Find a treat:

Teach your dog to look for his treats. Once he finds them, he sure will love it! You can also do this when you are leaving your pet alone at home, to keep him occupied.

  • Tempt your dog with his favourite treat.
  • Ask your pet to sit /stay at one place, and about 10 feet away from him, hide the treat where he can see you hiding it.
  • Say find and send him to find the treats. When he finds it, praise him well.
  • Repeat it a few times. Now turn your dog and keep the treat at the same place, and then ask him to find it.
  • Once he is comfortable finding it, then proceed to the next stage.
  • Select a second place to hide the treat and repeat the same procedure.
  • Once he can find the treat at both the places, keep the treat at both the places and send him to find them.
  • Then start placing the treat at any one place and encourage your pet to find it. If he doesn’t find it at the first place, encourage him to find it at the second place. Don’t guide him to go to the second place, let him take his own time and use his memory and nose.
  • Similarly, you can add more places to hide the treats.
  • To make it more difficult, take him out of the room, attract him with the treat, go inside, hide it and then send him to find it. Make the whole game very exciting for him, by motivating and encouraging him by the tone of your voice.

Find a toy

Teach your pet to look for his toy. Instead of a treat, use his favorite toy, and rest of the procedure is same as “Finding a treat”.

Retrieving toys

Toss your pet’s toy and teach him to get it back to you. Generally, the dog runs to fetch the toy, but does not give it back. In this case, he knows only half retrieve. This is mainly because of the owner’s mistake and not the dog’s!! Steps to correct retrieve?:

    • Always have more than one toy with you while teaching your dog to play, so that there is no possessiveness for the toy.
    • Sit at one place, start tempting your pet with the toy and then throw it and say fetch. Let him chase the ball, the minute he gets it, praise him with your voice or say “Good Boy” in a very exciting manner. Encourage him to come back to you. If he doesn’t come back, attract him with another toy and start playing on your own. As his attention comes back on you, throw the second toy for him to fetch. He will most probably drop the first one and go for the other. You should never take the toy away from him when he returns to you. The reason behind this is to make him understand that coming back to you is even better.
    • You must praise him with a treat.
    • You should always start and finish

the game.

  • Initially play for only 5-10 minutes, and don’t wait for him to get tired or bored with the game.
  • After the game, you must pick up all the toys and put them out of his reach. This will keep him interested at the next play session.

Retrieve stationary toys:

Keep your dog’s toys stationary and teach him to retrieve the same.

  • In the beginning, you have to teach him to retrieve each toy separately.
  • Take two of his toys, attract him and throw one and say ‘fetch’, for him to retrieve.
  • When he retrieves the first toy, praise him well and immediately throw the second one.
  • Keep practicing till he is comfortably fetching both the toys, one after another add a third toy and repeat the procedure.
  • Show him all the three toys and throw them, one by one at a small distance from each other, and then send him to fetch them.
  • Let him decide which one he wants to fetch first, and praise him when he comes back.
  • Send him again to fetch the second toy. Initially even if he gets one or two toys out of three spontaneously, it is good.
  • Repeat till he is retrieving all three with excitement.
  • Now instead of throwing the toys, ask him to sit/ stay. Go and place the toys at a distance and then send him to fetch them.
  • You may have to motivate him to fetch the toys.

Toy basket:

Teach your pet to fetch his toy and drop it in the basket.

  • First you have to teach him to drop the toys, after retrieving. That means when he returns with the toy, praise him with your voice but don’t touch the toy. If he wants to play more, he will start nudging you with the toy . The minute he drops it, praise him, pick up the toy and throw it again.
  • You have to be patient, and never snatch the toy from him, because this will only make him more possessive.
  • Once he knows the action, slowly start using the word “Drop”.
  • Now get a basket of small height and wide, flat mouth and keep it in front of you while playing.
  • Once he comes back with the toy, encourage him to drop it in the basket.
  • You can use a treat to motivate him. Initially he may not be able to understand what you want, so place your hand on top of the basket and ask him to drop it in your hand.
  • Slowly remove your hand when he drops the toy and praise him.
  • If he drops the toy in the basket, praise him really well and give him a treat.
  • After some repetitions, you only praise him when he drops the toy in the basket, this way he learns quicker.

Fetch the newspaper:

Teach your pet to get your newspaper to you.

  • Roll the paper with a rubberband.
  • Teach him to fetch  it in the same way as any other toy and praise him with treats.
  • At the time of practice, keep the paper at the same place.
  • Once he picks up the paper, don’t ask him to hold initially or let him sit with it because he will start chewing it. Encourage him to come back to you and offer a treat.

Passing  the parcel:

Teach your dog to take a toy from one person to the other.

  • Two people are required to play this game, i.e. person ‘A’ and ‘B’.
  • ‘A’ will hold the dog, and ‘B’ will have his favourite toy and some treats in his hand.
  • ‘B’ will now tempt the dog with the toy and ‘A’ will release him towards B.
  • When he comes close, ‘B’ will drop the toy just in front of him and ask him to fetch .
  • ‘B’ should encourage him to fetch  the toy and praise him with a treat after the dog retrieves the toy to him.
  • Repeat few times with same people, toy and place.
  • Once the dog knows that he is praised only when he picks up the toy and gives it to ‘B’, then ‘B’ must keep the toy on the floor, in the middle and ask him to fetch it.
  • ‘A’ must ask him to hold the toy and go to ‘B’. ‘B’ must praise him, only when he gets the toy.
  • One must keep the people, toy and the direction in which the dog is sent same so as not to confuse him.
  • Repeat every step unless you get it correct, with lot of excitement and praise.

Tug of war:

While playing tug of war most people cannot take the toy out of the dog’s mouth and he almost every time ends up winning the game or learns to growl at the owner if they try to take the toy away from him. To avoid this and to play a proper game, follow this:

    • Before playing this game, tell your pet to sit.
    • You must always start and finish

the game.

  • Start tempting him with a toy and once he catches it, start tugging.
  • This game should never be played with aggressive or extremely possessive dogs.
  • When you want to end the game, stop tugging and distract him with a treat or another toy.
  • Once he leaves the first toy, say ‘Good Boy’ and stop the game.
  • If he doesn’t stops and keeps jumping up for more, ask him to sit for 2 minutes.
  • Once he calms down, start again.
  • After the game is over, keep the toy out of his reach.

Kong toys:

Kong or boredom blaster toys are perfect even to feed your dog his daily diet. When you make him work for his food, he will definitely be happy and occupied at the same time.

Tip?: Before playing any game, you must create the excitement by tempting your pet with his favourite toy. Don’t expect things to happen in the first turn. It takes practice, persistence, patience and lots of rewards in terms of treats and your excitement too. It should be fun for your pet and you. The idea is to spend quality time together.

(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre For Canine Behaviour and Training, UK. One can learn basic pet dog training and care in 6 weeks from her. The classes start from 5th of February, 2005. She can be contacted at poojasathe11@hotmail.com, Ph-09820596903, 022-24165358-Mumbai)