Being a dog parent is synonymous with a bundle of hectic responsibilities. When I first brought home my black Labrador puppy home, I felt agitated by advises coming from all sides to shape the behavior of my puppy. The training drills were as boring for the poor pup as they were for me.
The hunting and scavenging skills that were found in ancestral wild dogs have to be utilized wisely to avoid unwanted behaviors in domesticated dogs. WebMD reports that wild dogs employ 80 percent of their energy for hunting and scavenging that exhausts them physically as well as mentally. So, I began my research to look for some real fun to strengthen my bond with the pup.
My research to find fun ways of training pups led me to discover some amazing yard games. As pups have a short attention span, they have to be lured by something engaging and fun. No agility course or a fish-hunting exercise is required. These yard games require only your time and effort to make a healthy and happy puppy.
3 Best Yard Games for Puppy Training
1. Digging Detective
The scavenger-spirited pups love to hunt for a favorite chew toy, reward, bone, etc. Digging habit is usually discouraged as dogs dig out the flower beds and grassy patches of the yard. You don’t need to suppress the pup’s desire to dig and explore, but simply direct him towards a safe spot. The digging space can be made with children’s plastic pool. Prepare a particular place for the puppy to dig out his favorite treats and toys from a heap of sand. Your dog can exhaust his instinctive behaviors at the corner of yard each day. Moreover, when it’s doubled up with entertainment, i.e., rewards and your involvement, the puppy will only do it when the rewards are given under your supervision.
It will sharpen his hunting and detective skills, without suppression. This open expression can ease your pup’s way to get easily trained at an adult stage of life.
2. Call the Puppy
This will not only entertain and benefit your puppy but also let your family and friends gather at one place. Yes, plan a get-together and let them bring along their pups as well. Give everyone 4 to 5 treats and sit in a circle with the pups sitting in the middle. Take turns in calling the puppies, and feed them treats if they recognize the person rightly.
It’s even better to do it with a single pup with all the family members sitting around in a big circle. This is a primary recall or ‘come’ training. Moreover, it strengthens the bond of your puppy with family and friends and creates a tie of trust between humans and pets.
3. Track the Scent
Track the scent is an exciting game that utilizes the dog’s power of smell. Amy Robinson proposed the game to engage little puppies for hours. If you have got a huge yard, then this will excite the puppy a lot. What’s required is that you have to hide a treat or toy behind a tree, under a leaf, into the bush, etc. for the pup to search out. Take the last chew toy or rope your pup has been nibbling on, and make a track by moving it around the yard for the pup to sniff out the path. Your little detective has to sniff the track until he reaches the target. Once he gets rewarded for the play-detective game, he will always be excited when brought in front of a path to ‘find out’ something.
It will sharpen his sense of smell and make it easier for him to respond to positive training techniques.
These yard games will make your pup’s training easier at a later stage of life and will help him curb unwanted behaviors in a better way. His instinctive behaviors should not be suppressed. It’s better to let them express their natural behaviors in a controlled manner and exhaust the excess of their energies. These fun games will create a stronger bond between your pup and you, and he will follow your instructions for later training. Care for his happiness, and the pup will repay for your efforts.
About the Author:
James Shore is a part-time dog trainer and dog behavior consultant. He is a professional freelancer with years of experience in dog training. He is interested in finding fun ways to handle dog behaviors, specifically, Labradors to help dog owners enjoy their companions at all times. His pet passion led him to develop Labrador Training HQ to help people.