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18 - Play a shared game

18 - Play a shared game

This exercise teaches your dog that a shared game is safe and good fun. If he does not learn to share a game with you, he will probably start to play the natural doggy possession game; that is standing a couple of paces away from you and grabbing the toy whenever you try to pick it up, which can be frustrating. Puppies need to learn how to play appropriately as soon as possible but older dogs can also be taught this exercise.

  1. Start with your dog on a  at collar, or harness, and trailing leash. Choose a toy that is big enough for you both to hold. Wiggle the toy along the ground and encourage your dog to mouth it. When he takes the toy, stroke him, praise him and have lots of fun.
  2. While you are both holding the toy, stroke your dog but quietly pick up the end of the leash before you release the toy so that your dog cannot bounce away with it.
  3. When your dog is happy to share the game and to give up the toy when you ask for it using the ‘off’ or ‘leave’ cue (see way 14), start to throw the toy a short distance, but leave the leash trailing so that you can contain the game.

Layla wears a collar and leash so that Marie can contain the game

Marie prevents Layla from bouncing away by picking up the leash before releasing the toy

Layla is learning to release the toy

Retaining control of the game

Avoid staring at your dog as he comes back towards you with the toy as this can trigger a doggy tease and chase game. Call him and turn away. When he is close to you, quietly step on the trailing leash so he can’t bounce away. Stroke him and have fun without touching the toy or making eye contact. You want him to feel con dent and happy around you with the toy in his mouth.

From 100 Ways to Train the Perfect Dog, Copyright by Sarah Fisher, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with D & C

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