My Golden Retrievers love playing games. I
recommend that you play games with your dog. Games help your
dog use his prey drive energy in a positive fashion. Games
benefit the relationship between you and your dog. Games help
alleviate you and your dog's stress. SO GO PLAY GAMES!
Games to teach and play:
someone hold your dog, hide in a fair place (do not climb up on
things or close doors). Call your dog's name and
COME. Have your dog find you. This also teaches
your dog to love to come to you when he hears
"come". Also play this outside in a safe
area. Hide behind trees and in the bushes!
Retrieve: Throw a
retrieve object, let your dog chase it. It's a great energy
burner for your dog. Either run away to encourage him to
return, stand where he wants to return to anyhow, play with two
retrieve items and trade off, or have a rope on him and gently help
him return. When he does return, do not reach for the retrieved
item. Instead pet him and praise him. He may then drop
the item or you can have a second item and toss that for another retrieve.
Find his toys:
Hide a toy and have him hunt it up with the word "find" or
find it". To make him want it more, use a toy you can
stuff with peanut butter or spray cheese.
Toys that allow your dog to
hunt for food: These toys
allow your dog to play a game by himself. You can buy toys such
as the Buster Cube, Kong, or hollow marrow bones. There are
other brands of puzzle toys that you place food into - some are
softer than the Buster Cube (not as loud when the dog bangs them
around, but maybe not as indestructible either).
Scattered kibble hunting game:
Have your dog wait on the stoop or deck as you scatter kibble or
small bisquits in the grass in a hoola hoop-sized area. If your
dog is not good at waiting, have someone hold him. Then return
to your dog and release him to search for his food in the grass.
You can feed your dog part of his actual dinner in this manner.
Tug is a good energy burning game. It is recommended that you
play tug only with a designated tug toy, only when you get the toy
out to play, and only when young children are not around since they
are not mature enough to play this game. Play with a start word
and a release word. It is okay to sometimes let the dog win,
but in the end you will stop the game and put the toy away. If
your dog accidentally (or otherwise) touches your skin with a tooth,
say "ouch", stop the game, take the toy, and ignore him for
a silent count of 10 before playing again. Hurting you makes
the game stop for a bit.
Go away from you to an
object, crate, or bed: Teach
your dog to target (meaning to touch his nose to) an object, such as
an upsidedown recycle bucket. Put a piece of food on the bucket
and teach him to get it from close up. Gradually move farther
back until you can send him away from you to the bucket. Again
move closer to the bucker and have him turn to face you and sit for a
treat when he gets to the bucket (after he gets the treat off the
bucket, say "sit" and give him another treat for facing you
and sitting). You can also teach him to run into his crate or
to a dog bed in the same manner as a game. Having your dog race
to his crate or dog bed for the reward of a small treat or toy is a
great way to exercise him on a rainy or snowy day.