In my Juvenile Delinquents Classes, I ask my students when they last taught their dogs something new. While it’s important to focus on getting reliable responses to the most important cues you use regularly (like sit, stay, come, etc.) with your dog, it is also important to keep teaching new things to both burn off energy and help him/her continue to stretch his/her brain power. Practicing the same things over and over gets tedious for both you and your dog. Adding in some variety can keep things fresh and fun for both of you!
Keeping things fun and learning new things is what my Fun & Games Class is all about. We explore different games, dog sports and other activities that give participants new ways to work with their dogs. Some incorporate basic skills in new formats and some focus on brand new skills. In our current class, we dedicated a session to teaching opposites. Some of these might be just for fun, while others can also have very practical purposes. In addition, many of these help dogs practice body awareness skills. Here are some of the opposites you could teach your dog:
- In/Out (can be used for getting in and out of a box/crate/basket/bathtub/etc. or going into and out of a room)
- On(Up)/Off (can be used for getting on a chair, up into the back of the car, on the pause table in agility, etc.)
- Spin/Twirl (spin in a tight circle one direction, twirl in a tight circle the other direction)
- Around clockwise/Around counterclockwise
How many other opposites can you think of?
If you are looking for a way to burn off some of your dog’s energy when it’s too cold or icy to get out for a long walk, pick one of these to try and have some indoor fun with your dog!