Playing with your Border Collie puppy is fun and teaches your it all sorts of valuable skills such as fetch, obedience, and problem-solving. There is no end of fascinating games you can make up to play with your puppy to help it learn the things you want it to know.
It all depends on your puppy’s nature and character, but you can devise and adapt all games to suit any type of puppy or dog....
Let’s Play Fetch
Playing fetch with your Border Collie puppy is a great, fun way to teach your dog to come or reinforce the come command. It creates a bond between you and your pup that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your lives together.
The simple way to do teach you Border Collie to fetch is to start out with two identical toys. Have your dog on the lead and hide one toy on you and show the other one to your dog. Make sure your dog is interested in the toy but do not give it to it.
When your dog is interested, throw the toy a short distance and release your dog saying the command ‘Fetch’ in a bright happy voice. Most dogs will naturally chase and most will pick the toy up. When your dog starts coming back to you with the toy produce the second toy. When your dog sees the second toy it will probably drop the one it has and return to you for the new toy.
When it does return, put your dog back on the lead and throw the new toy. As you release your dog use your command word ‘Fetch’. Repeat this several times until your dog has the idea and starts bringing the toy right back to you.
Tips for Teaching your Dog to Fetch
Once your dog masters fetch you can teach your Border Collie to fetch all manner of things such as the remote control or the newspaper.
Tug is a Favourite
Border Collie’s just love to play tug and it comes naturally to them. Tug teaches your dog to fight with you so be careful. Make sure you always remain in control, and that you are the one that starts and finishes any game of tug.
Remember, tug games can get out of hand very easily, especially if your dog tends to be dominant. If you inadvertently lose the game, you teach your dog how to dominate you.
Where’s my Toy?
Playing games where your Border Collie has to find a toy are great and it teaches it to use its natural instinct. Start out by teaching your dog to associate a word with an object such as a ball or a toy.
This is easy. From the time your dog is a puppy name its toys, for example, blue ball. When your dog is playing with the blue ball say things such as “where’s your blue ball?’ or “yes, you’ve got your ball?” or anything like this to reinforce the association between the object and the word.
Have your dog’s favourite toy, some treats, and a towel. Using a favourite toy means your dog will easily recognise it by sight and smell. Have cue words, such as blue ball. Say your cue words, and when your dog looks at the toy reward it by giving it the blue ball.
Choose a seek command. It can be anything like find or seek, but keep it to one word and only use it when you want your dog to find something.
Hide the toy a little bit at a time. Start by showing your dog the toy. Without hiding it, tell your dog to ‘find your blue ball’. When your dog responds by looking at it, reward with the toy. Next, cover a little of the toy with the towel and repeat your command. If your dog picks up the toy, or even looks at it, reward your dog with a happy voice.
If your dog does not respond, keep trying but do not reprimand your dog. Your dog does not understand what you want from it so punishing your dog will make no difference. It will just make everything more frustrating for you both.
Keep covering more and more of the toy with towel and repeating the command. Every time your dog responds reward and praise the behaviour.
Start hiding the toy further and further away from your dog once it understands how to find its toy under a towel. Rub the toy on the carpet, furniture, anywhere to give your Border Collie a trail to follow and let your dog watch what you are doing.
Once your dog has mastered finding the toy at a distance, start hiding the toy without your dog watching, such as in another room or under the bed.
Reward your dog for finding the toy. Use whatever motivates your dog best. Treats, a game, or just a scratch under the ear all work well. Always praise your Border Collie when it does what you want and do not punish your dog when it does not.
It is all about growing the bond between you and your Border Collie, and giving it physically and mentally demanding challenges.
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