Stormy Day Dog Training Games

Category_Dog Training Category_Dogs Category_Informational Category_Training Writer_MaryBeth_Bittel

Sparky Steps - Stormy Day Dog Training Games

Stormy Day Dog Training Games

Chicago certainly isn’t the only city to experience erratic weather patterns as winter releases its grip. All across the country, unexpected storms and downpours can abruptly strand your favorite pup indoors. If you live in the Windy City, canine boredom is easily remedied with a fun visit from our Sparky Steps team. But on the days you’re actually home with your pooch, don’t forget that you can also use inclement weather to your advantage. There are several easy reward-based dog training games that improve canine conduct, while strengthening your pet-human bond. Remember, a “reward” can be anything your dog perceives as valuable. That might include tasty treats, upbeat phrases, or loving attention. According to the American Kennel Club, when you consistently reward a desired behavior, it starts becoming ingrained. So next time March flurries or April showers threaten to ruin your outdoor play date, give these fun training games a try.


Dance Party

Does your dog get so wound up that he starts zooming around, threatening to wreck your treasured possessions? Here’s the game for you, based upon impulse control exercises taught by behavioral academies like Narnia Pet Training and others. Find an open area free of fragile items. Wait until your pup is restfully lounging, then begin dancing around until Fido jumps up to join you. Keep the energy level high for a couple minutes, then abruptly go very still. At the same time, ask your furry friend to “sit.” Repeat this command firmly, until it’s obeyed. Then praise your pup enthusiastically, and reward with a healthy-yet-yummy snack like Zuke’s Mini Naturals Peanut Butter & Oats Recipe training treats. To avoid overstimulation, wait until a different day to start another dance party. But always begin when your pooch is totally relaxed, and always reward the “sit” behavior immediately (ideally, with something your dog finds delicious). Gradually, this game can help teach your canine to calm down on command.



Is your dog non-aggressive, but reluctant to part with that favorite chew toy when you ask? Try this training game, based on exchange exercises used by Journey Dog Training. Wait until your pooch is involved with her preferred play object, like the Nylabone Peanut Butter Power Chew Barbell or the Kong Dental Stick. Casually wander over with a concealed but very high-value treat, like a piece of salmon or bacon. Crouch near your pup, say “gimme,” then display the food with your left hand. The very second your dog releases her toy to accept that yummy tidbit, pick up the toy with your right hand. Say “good!” repeatedly, and with tremendous enthusiasm. A few affectionate ear scratches would also be in order. Repeat this game periodically over time, but always use the “gimme” command right before you display the treat. Gradually, you want your pup to drop her favorite toy whenever you say the cue word— with or without the aid of a tasty snack.


Towel Trick

Does your pup uncontrollably jump-greet strangers at the door— maybe even our very own Sparky Steps team members, when they stop by for a daytime visit? Here’s a rainy-day training game based on Dr. Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol. Place an old towel within view of your front door, but several feet away. First, teach your canine to sit on the towel and reward/praise that behavior accordingly. Next, ask your pooch to “stay” seated on the towel while you slowly head toward the door. Does he get up? No biggie. Just walk him right back to the towel, then command and reward another “sit.” Once your dog remains seated even after you walk away, bump up the challenge by asking a friend to softly knock or ring the doorbell. Eventually, make things even harder by actually opening the door. See the escalating pattern? Whatever you do, keep commanding and praising that “sit-and-stay” on the towel — consistently and with gusto. Over time, your dog can learn to keep sitting calmly when visitors arrive. Rainy day training games are terrific for teaching productive new behaviors. They’re also a fun, positive way to connect with your favorite canine. So remember to keep playing! And if you’ve found this information useful, be sure to share it with your favorite pet lover.

Written by Marybeth Bittel

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