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The Importance of Play in Dog Training

When you train dogs, it is also very important to also incorporate play in with your training, as it improves your dogs focus and teaches the dog the all important concept of self control. Play provides a creative outlet for your dog to use their brain. It can be a one-on-one game with their owner, or in a group with other dogs in a more social play session. Another way of providing challenges for your dogs brain is by adding puzzle toys or a Kong toy filled with enticing food to exercise your dogs brain while he/she has fun. Another very inexpensive way, almost penniless way, is to hide a treat in a paper towel or toilet paper tube and collapse the ends. Hide the tube in the house for your dog to find, or take a cardboard box, unfold the flaps and hide bits of lunch meat or cheese under the flaps and fold them back down and let the dog search the box. The dog may tear up the box, but it will be a great challenge for their mind!

The act of play can simply be a well-deserved break from training or serve as a very powerful reinforcement for a job well done. In training, the better the reward, the more likely good behavior is to repeat. It may not seem like it, but adding short play sessions breaks into your training sessions can help improve focus and can provide your dog with frequent opportunities to practice impulse control.

To get the most out of your training always stop while your dog is still having fun and wanting more, rather than waiting until your dog looses interest or focus. For added impact use the end of training for a game of fetch to teach your dog self-control. In the name of good manners, your dog should be expected to wait until you start the game, rather than jumping for the toy at first. You should start with the "Sit" command each time, then "Ok" to begin the game. You should also be the one to signal the end of the game by a cue of "done"-Once the play session is over, you can end your session.

Here you see how play is important in training-Play- is also important in may other aspects of life in how it shape the brain in other creatures, including-Us as humans...here, you can watch Dr. Stuart Brown, Author of Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul


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