5 Great Games To Play In Your Obedience Class

5 Great Games To Play In Your Obedience Class

Play In Your Obedience Class

Fun Games To Play In Obedience Class With Your Clients

Obedience class can become repetitive and boring pretty quickly for our students if we do not make it fun for them. Games are a great way to get both the dog and the owners invested in training without making it hard for them. Both dogs and owners will be getting great recalls and loose leash walking without even realizing it due to some fun games. Here are five games that are great to play in obedience class to get our students excited about learning.

1. How Do You Sit?

This game can be played two different ways depending on your end goal. If you want to work on the speed of the dog’s sits, then you can set a timer for two minutes and have your handlers ask their dogs to sit as many times as possible in the two minutes while reinforcing each sit. Don’t forget to count your sits! This works on heavily reinforcing the behavior and can get your owner’s excitement up.

Another way to play is working on stimulus control and context. How many different ways can your students ask their dogs to sit and their dogs comply? You give the position and the students give it a try. Some examples may be, facing away from the dog, sitting down, bending over, doing jumping jacks, clapping their hands over their heads, etc. This is a fun one and really lets you know how well their dogs are understanding the behavior.

2. Relay Walks

This is a good way to practice loose leash walking in a fast paced environment. You can either have the handlers relay around a small obstacle course (weaving between cones or around objects), or have them hold a golf ball on a spoon. They must move down and back without dropping the golf ball. If the ball is dropped, someone will retrieve it and they must wait until the golf ball is back on their spoon. Whichever team finishes first is the winner.

3. Leap Frogs Down

This game is played in the similar fashion of the game Leap Frog. Split your class into two teams and have them gather at a start line. Have a set finish line. The team member that is up first must down their dog and have the dog hold a stay. The next member does the same thing. Each member goes down the line with a down stay until the last member performs the down. Now the first team member moves to the end of the line and repeats the down stay. The rest of the team follows. The first team to cross the finish line wins. If a dog gets up during the game, the whole team must go back to the start line and start over.

4. Recall Races

Have two dogs hold a stay and have the owners walk a good distance away. Have both dogs recall to their owners. Gates may be used for novice dogs who may veer from course. As the dogs get good at this game, begin to introduce distractions along the way, whether it is someone sitting in a chair, a ball on the ground, or even a treat. Work from easy distractions to hard.

5. Musical Hoops

This game can be played with many different things as the ‘safe zone’ such as, hoops, mats, towels, or low platforms. We will use hoops for this example. Set up hoops in a straight row, one less than the amount of dogs you have in class. Have someone play music while the students and their dogs walk around the hoops in an organized fashion. Students can use clicker/treats to reinforce. When the music stops, students and dogs must make their way to the hoop and get their dogs to perform a behavior requested by the instructor. Whichever dog is left that doesn’t perform the behavior in a hoop is out of the game. Remove a hoop and repeat. Repeat this until you have one dog left, he is the winner!

All of these games can be made harder as your students progress in the class. Keeping the students invested in learning and challenging them will help your students retain what they learned and want to train with their dogs. These are only a few games that can be played in obedience class. What are some other games that you enjoy playing in your obedience classes?

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10 Behaviors All Obedience Classes Should Cover

10 Behaviors All Obedience Classes Should Cover

Ask anyone and they have their own idea of what a dog should learn. There are the essential behaviors but there are some other behaviors that might not be taken into consideration until there is an issue. It is important to cover these in a class to provide students with a proper foundation for a well-behaved and stable dog.

Image via Bessey's Positive Paws

Image via Bessey’s Positive Paws

1. Sit

An essential behavior that most clients have already started with their dog when they come to class but is still just as important to cover. Sit is key to get as a solid behavior because it can be utilized when working on proper greetings or providing a dog with an incompatible behavior to jumping.

2. Down

Another essential behavior that clients like to know how to teach. It works as an incompatible behavior to things like jumping but also is handy when working on teaching place or a settle.

3. Leave-it

A behavior that has endless uses. Not only to teach a dog to leave food or inanimate items but other dogs, cats, people or “yuck”. You can fill in the blank.

4. Loose Leash Walking

Whether a dog is allowed freedom outdoors or not, how to walk on a leash is a behavior to start immediately. There will always be a time when a dog needs to be put on a leash and it is more pleasurable for dog and handler when the leash is loose, let alone safer.

5. Settle/Relax

Clients tend to focus their attention on exercising their dog which can lead to an anxious or hyperactive dog that doesn’t know how to chill. Dogs will adapt to the level of exercise they are given. We need to teach them to settle and relax in the face of excitement or boredom.

6. Recall

Also known as “coming when called,” this is a life saving behavior and takes lots of practice to be truly successful. Coming when called is a key behavior to teach early on in lessons. Consider incorporating a hand touch with this behavior to make sure the dog comes within reach in case of an emergency situation.

7. Place

A versatile tool like a mat, towel, dog bed etc. that can be used to have the dog target at a  specific location and then to relax and settle. Mats are portable and can be taken to coffee shops or restaurants as well.

8. Focus

Client will repeat cues to a dog when they don’t even have the dogs attention. By teaching the client this tool of gaining their dogs attention will help to eliminate frustration in the face of distractions.

9. Handling

Teaching your clients to teach their dogs to love handling is essential. It helps to create a stable, confident dog. Dogs should allow their owners to comfortably hold their feet (for nail trimming), check their mouth, look in their ears, brush their coats and accept restraint. Having strangers perform these exercises to the dog is a definite bonus to prep for vet visits! (Tip: Have everyone in class switch dogs and practice gentle handling exercises with lots of rewards.)

10. Give

Teaching “give” or a “drop it” helps prevent resource guarding. Instead of forcing something away from the dog we can give the dog the choice to drop the item for something of better value.

The above behaviors are listed in no particular order to importance. Which behavior do you think is the most important?

Precise Obedience: Exercises To Increase A Dog’s Back End Awareness

Precise Obedience: Exercises To Increase A Dog’s Back End Awareness

The Benefits of Back-end Awareness-min

Increase a dog’s accuracy in competitions by practicing back end awareness exercises.

Back end awareness is not something that comes naturally to dogs. Most dogs don’t realize they have anything behind their shoulders. Back end awareness exercises help dogs learn how to move their back end in order to increase accuracy in obedience, agility, and other dog training competitions. Donna Hill demonstrates several types of back end awareness exercises for dogs in this video:

Walking over ladders, over agility obstacles, and backing up over steps are some of the 22 exercises that are demonstrated in this video. Fortunately, you don’t have to purchase any special equipment to work on these exercises. Your students will likely enjoy watching their dogs discover this whole other part of their bodies which can make for great comic relief in class!

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