Confidence games that can try at home
Can you eat from a noisy box?
We love games like this! This is a great way for your dog to earn breakfast or dinner. This game builds the concept of being OK with noises. All you need is a box and some recycling. Scatter your dog’s food in and off they go!
Its important to consider what level of noise your dog can cope with when you first start playing this game.
You may only want to put one item in, or even no items (the box in itself makes noise as the dog reaches in) to begin with and build from there. Always think about the dog in front of you and go at their pace.
Can you climb inside something!
Using a bin or barrel on it’s side is great for this! This is such a great one for building confidence as there are some many stages to this one!
First of all we are looking for any interaction with the bin/barrel. Then perhaps a nose in, then a little more…and a little more and so on. Whilst your dog is getting used to climbing inside, its important to keep the bin/barrel still. Once they are leaping in like no tomorrow, move the bin/barrel slightly from side to side for an extension to this game.
Can you stand on something that moves?
(If your dog has never placed their paws onto something, start with something that doesn’t move to begin with)
Again, with this one, we are looking at building the steps towards the end goal which is paws on the object. So first mark and reward for any interaction, then a step towards the object, then one paw on, then 2, then 3, then 4 (depending on side of object!).
Once you have practiced this game with one item, try with different items. For an extension exercise to movement, use something that also makes a noise, a metal baking tray for example.
Can you walk over something?
In the photo we are showing a dog walking over poles, but what you use is up to you, so long as your dog is physically able to walk over the objects – not jump!
When doing this exercise, we are looking for individual foot placement in between each gap. If your dog is in a hurry, drop food intermittently in the gaps to slow them down.
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.