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8 Reasons why you should try Game based dog training

Updated: Nov 28, 2021

1. It’s fun! Let's start with the obvious reason. Games are fun for both you and your dog! The games can be as short as just 2-3 repetitions and many can be played at home. We practice for the Situation instead of trying to perform in it. So there’s no pressure on you or the dog and you can both just enjoy the process.

2. It helps you build your relationship with your dog. Taking part in joint activities that you both enjoy is one way to improve your relationship with your dog. Dogs like to work for rewards so they will enjoy playing games with you. And we also know that when dogs are trained with positive reinforcement, they are more likely to have a strong attachment to their person. So it’s a great way to build your bond with your dog.

3. It’s good for your dog’s welfare. In case you didn’t know, training with positive reinforcement is one of the ways people can give their dog positive experiences. Having positive experiences is essential for good welfare. Of course, there are many ways to give your dog positive experiences, but regular training with positive reinforcement is a nice and easy way to do so.

4. It tires your dog out. If you’ve got one of those dogs who is just go, go, go, training is one way to tire them out. Although physical exercise is great, mental exercise is also tiring. Training can be especially beneficial for those high energy breeds like Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and German Shepherds. But frankly, it’s good for all dogs. And that’s because…

5. It’s cognitive enrichment. In other words, it gives their brain something to do. That’s partly why it can be tiring (see above). And it’s beneficial for dogs of all ages, including senior dogs. Sometimes people don’t do enough to provide enrichment for their senior dog—after all, the dog is typically well-behaved and quiet by that age. Teaching them some tricks is a great way to keep their brain active and keep them young longer. It also has the ability to combat cognitive decline in older dogs.

6. It’s food enrichment too. Assuming you’re using food as the reward, which let’s face it is the best way to train most behaviors. Dogs are sensitive to the type of food reward we use, will run faster for better quality treats, and have opinions about variety, so good food works well to motivate your dog. Whether it’s little bits of peanut butter squares, tuna fudge, cooked chicken, or some other great dog training treat it’s best to train with food that your dog doesn’t get otherwise.

But because the games are so fun over time it will be come less about what type of food you use and more about the experience they have with it. This is when we can use our dogs daily food, that they need to eat anyway, during training.

7. Your dog will get better at learning. The more you teach your dog, the more they will learn how to learn. For example, at one year of age, dogs who went to puppy class are considered more trainable than those who didn’t, according to their guardians. Plus, you’ll be able to show off to family and friends about how smart your dog is.

8. You get to practice your skills too. These training sessions aren’t just for the dog; they will help you to work on your training skills. You’ll improve your timing in delivering rewards quickly (and clicking, if you’re using a clicker). You’ll improve your technique in luring and shaping as you get your dog to do the behaviors you want. You’ll get better at setting criteria, and at learning how to start with something very easy (that your dog can already do) and gradually progress at just the right pace so they stay interested. In turn, all of this practice will help whenever you do training in the future.

You gain vital hours in the saddle perfecting your skills as trainer.

So training your dog—even when you don’t have to—can improve your life, and your dog’s life.

Join one of my Weekly theme based Workshops today and learn more about Game based dog training.

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