Top Tips to Grow & Enhance Play
1. Don’t just turn up….Show Up!
The type of energy you bring to your play session is the difference between a dog who is totally engaged and a dog who really isn’t fussed! You have got to bring it! The energy has got to be up, you have got to let go of any inhibitions. Loosen up, smile, have fun! Let the moment take you, be in the moment and don’t let any other thought or worry consume you! Focus on the game! You can play with your dog without a toy at first, or have it on you, but don’t view the mission as solely a game of MY DOG MUST TUG. It’s a game between you and your dog. Engagement is the first step!
Play is an art, it’s like a dance! Step sides, forwards, backwards, move slowly, then fast. If you are using a toy, move and drag the toy low down on the ground and continuously move the toy away from your dog. Get your dog chasing! Ignite that inner passion for chase! Dangling the toy up and at your dog’s face in a bid to get them to latch probably won’t lead to success. When it comes to the toy think: LOW, ON THE GROUND, CHASE!
3. Under pressure
Play is an art, it’s a dance and today we’re going to look at your body position. If you are using a toy, playing up close to your dog creates a lot of pressure on your dog and they can find this quite uncomfortable, as does standing square straight on to your dog, and bending over them. Think about your body position as you dance around and play. Crouch down, move so that you are side on to your dog, use a toy that has length to it so that your dog can play with some distance from you, allow your dog to pull your forward, let them think they are winning the game!
4. Toy Type
The type of toy you use is incredibly important. Every dog is different and it is for you to know what type of toy your dog goes crazy over! We love the toys Tug-E-Nuff make as they make so many different kinds, there is quite literally a toy to suit every purpose and every dog! (www.tug-e-nuff.co.uk). We mentioned about putting pressure on play yesterday and toys that have no length to them resulting in you playing incredibly close to your dog, piles on the pressure. We love toys that have length to them, one of our absolute favourites from Tug-E-Nuff is the chaser tug for that very reason. We also love to use a horse lunging whip with a toy on the end too!
5. Short & Sweet
Like with every training session with your dog, a play session needs to be short and sweet. If we’re honest, with the energy and animation you’ll being bringing, a short session will and should tire you out. Think quality over quantity each and every time. Even if your session lasts 20 seconds, if you are seeing amazing engagement and sheer joy from your dog then that is true play success!
You can read more of our Thursday Training Tips HERE.
About the Author: Kelly Murrell helps out with some of the work in the office at Devon Dogs, particularly with marketing and advertising. She used to work in the office at East Bowerland Farm, but recently moved to Vancouver Island, Canada with her husband. She is an avid dog trainer and regularly posts dog training tips for Devon Dogs, Bowerland and Progressive Paws.