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Squeezing Practice Into Playtime

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Working between play

Integrating training with playtime can be a very effective method to gain off-leash reliability with your dog.  Here are some comments I often hear from my students:
“My dog doesn’t listen to me when we are out in public.”
“I want to be able to control my dog off-leash.”
“I don’t have time to practice training with my dog.”
“I don’t want to have to use treats all the time.”
By incorporating a little training practice during off-leash playtime, my students can have it all.

Here’s how it works.  Every two minutes, interrupt your dog’s off-leash games or play activities with a command you want to practice.  Let’s use ‘sit’ as an example.  While you and your dog are engaged in interactive play, interrupt the activity by telling your dog to sit.  Once your dog sits, you can reward the behavior by resuming the game.  Enjoyable activity can be a powerful reward to a dog.  In addition, because you are engaging in interactive play, you already have your dog’s attention.  A quick interruption during playtime relieves my students of having to find time in their schedule for a training session.
I also like to use this method for tug games and other commands.  By interrupting the game with “drop it”, your dog learns that the game only resumes when the dog gives up the tug toy.  Make sure that your off-leash activities are in a safe area that permits dogs off-leash.  By mixing training into playtime, you can have it all too!
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Written by dawnhanna

March 9, 2011 at 8:45 am

Posted in Dog Training

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