Luvk9s Dog Training



The new year is upon us, and with it comes the desire to establish goals for the upcoming year. Common New Year’s resolutions include exercising, losing weight and getting organized. If you are a dog owner, your list might also include training your dog.

According to, the three main reasons resolutions fail is because they are not specific enough, they aren’t “framed” positively and your resolution isn’t about you. To make “training the dog” a more achievable goal, a better resolution might be “make coming when called enjoyable for Fido.”

How do we do this? One way is to use games to make training fun and entertaining for your dog.


Controlled recall on leash game. This is a great game to play while you are walking your dog on leash. Every few minutes, call your dog’s name and when he looks at you, ask him to come as you briskly step backwards invoking the chase instinct. Reward with a treat and continue walking forwards.

Group recall game. Get several family members and/or friends to play this game. Stand or sit in a circle and have participants randomly call the dog to come. If the dog comes, he gets rewarded with a treat. If he goes to somebody without having been called, he gets ignored. Once dogs understand how the game works, they love playing it!

Drop it

Controlled tug game. Playing tug with your dog is a terrific way to teach the “drop it” cue. Start playing tug and ask your dog to “drop it.” If he doesn’t, show him a high-value treat. Your dog will probably drop the tug toy to take the treat. Immediately give your dog the tug toy back and continue tugging.

Repeat this process over and over. At some point, the dog will drop the tug toy in anticipation of the treat – in other words, before you show him the treat. This is your opportunity to enthusiastically praise your dog, return the tug toy and continue tugging.

The treat is used initially to encourage the dog to drop the tug; with most dogs, you will be able to phase out the treat quickly because your dog will learn that “drop it” results in something better than a treat – continuing play with his human!

Ankle nipping

Find it game.
To teach your puppy this game, toss a treat to the right, point towards the treat and say the cue “find it.”  Once he finds the treat (and eats it), he will probably look back at you in anticipation.  Repeat the process but toss the treat off to the left. Repeat, tossing treats to the left and right, sometimes close by and sometimes further away. 

Once your puppy has mastered the “find it” game, always have treats (or a toy) handy in your pocket. If it looks like he is going to nip/bite your legs, immediately say “find it” and toss the treat or toy to redirect his attention away from your legs to something more appropriate.  

Impulse control

Airplane sit/stay game. Have a treat ready and hidden in one hand. Ask your dog to sit in front of you. Holding the treat with your thumb and index finger, raise your arm up above your dogs’ head. Slowly bring it down toward your dog. As long as your dog continues to sit quietly, keep bringing the treat closer. If your dog gets up or jumps toward the treat, quickly raise the treat up and away from your dog. Ask your dog to sit (or wait for your dog to offer a sit) and try again. Repeat until you can lower the treat all the way down to your dog’s mouth without him jumping (and at that point, let him have the treat.)

Ready-Set-Down game. Find an area where you can run with your dog. Ask your dog to either “down” or “sit” next to you. Crouch as if you are getting ready to run. (You may need to hold on to your dog’s collar.) Get him aroused by talking to him in an overly excited tone of voice; then give a cue (ready, set, go) and start running.

Once your dog is running with you, cue your dog to stop (easy, stop, down) and immediately stop running yourself. It may take a few attempts (and encouragement with a treat) to get your dog to stop running and lay down.

Repeat until your dog understands the game. Initially, you may need to use treats to get your dog to “down,” but most dogs begin to enjoy the game (running with their owner) and will no longer require treats. Getting to run with you repeatedly becomes the reward.

Loose leash walking

Crazy walk game. Use mealtime as an opportunity to teach your dog how beneficial it can be to walk nicely next to you. Take a handful of your dog’s kibble and keep it in your right hand. Slap your left thigh and start moving, encouraging your dog to walk on your left side.

Initially, feed your dog a piece of kibble from your left hand every other step. Once your dog understands the game, take more steps before rewarding with kibble always encouraging the dog to stay close to you on your left.

Keep the game fun and exciting by being unpredictable. Make a sharp turn to the right, walk fast then slow, turn sharply to the left, walk thru different rooms. This is another game most dogs love to play.

Happy New Year

Henry Ward Beecher noted that “the dog is the god of frolic.” Consider incorporating games into your daily routine to make training fun for both you and your dog. Wishing all of you a happy New Year and happy training!