Saturday, January 29, 2011

Puppy Games

During our exploration walks outside,  I also play some games with Sunny.  One is chase me.  I want her to chase me, but I will never chase her.  That game is way too much fun for the dog and can lead to some bad habits.  But if I can get Sunny to chase me it can turn into a fun game and I don't even need a toy to play it.  I start by getting her attention and taking a few quick steps away from her and calling her name and just silly talk.  As soon as I get her running after me I will stop and go the other way.  This should kick in the prey drive.  When the puppy is having a good time with that game then you can run back and forth quickly turning, playing catch me if you can, and getting the pup to really want to catch you.  I don't go too long and then I will let her catch me and then I tickle her belly and just play silly, with lots of  pats on her side and physical contact.  Good exercise for both of us!

I have a lunging whip (for horses)  that I use and it makes for a great game of tug and chase.  I tie a soft fleecy toy on the end of it and snap  that around. Really builds their prey drive and tug drive.   Sunny goes wild over that thing!  I let her carry it around and tug gently with her until she really latches on.  With Sunny it doesn't take much - she reminds me of a shark tearing apart their kill!  She will run around me in a circle  - great thing is she can't run away with the toy.  I think she is a "come by" dog as she seems to prefer circling that way.  I play this for just a short time being careful to quit before she wants to.  When I play this game with any dog I NEVER flip the toy up in the air.  I always keep it low and on the ground.  I don't like for my dogs to jump up high for stuff like that - too dangerous - I worry about injuries.  Be especially careful with puppies doing this type of thing.  A little goes a long way.

Another  game is to get a big beach towel, blanket, or better yet a tarp and drag it on the ground.  Today I started with a beach towel in the house and Sunny was riding it as I drug her around the house.  Then outside I used a small tarp.  She really went wild with that, tugging and jumping on the tarp.  I drug the tarp around and she stood on the tarp all the while tugging - reminded me of a shark!  The tarp makes noise too which is good.

In the house I am  getting her to tug and play with me.  Sunny has a lot of drive for such a young pup and she is already on toys.  Sometimes she prefers my hands to the toy I am trying to get her on.  But I just keep putting the toy in her mouth and directing the bite to the toy.  I will probably end up wearing gloves soon!  I don't want to discourage her from playing with me right now by saying ouch.  I am not going to say anything if she bites me right now.  First I will build her drive to play with me and tugging like a fiend - then later on I will work on the misdirected teeth!  Of course with Sunny I don't think saying ouch would be an issue as she is pretty tough, but I still will build her desire to play with me first. 

One thing I always want to do is cherish and nurture  the drive in my dog.