While still in Florida having a wonderful time with my family, I will be completely honest, I totally miss my 3 pups back in Maine! I know they are in great hands as my intern KT is giving them lots of love and exercise.
What do I miss the most? Play!! I love to play Tug as they love this game as much as I do — maybe even more! Sophie, my scottie use to grab your hand often, but has learned to have better control where she puts her teeth. Annie my terrier is determined to hold on, even if I pick her up off the ground, she is a terrier to the core. While Pablo loves tug also, he mostly loves to be chased, we play tag in the basement often. It took me a while to catch on but he taught me that when he stares at me and lowers his head, then bolts, it means “you’re it”.
All the dogs will drop any tug toy with a happy “leave it” cue. While I did reward with food while teaching this cue, now the reward is continued play or affection. I also recommend play as a way to distract dogs in many different situations. Like when Sophie used to chase people who turned their back as they walked to the door, I used fetch as an alternative behavior just as the person moved. She had been practicing chasing and nipping for 5 years, so I will need to reinforce her alternative behavior for a long time, but using play is a win win for both of us — even my kids are good with it!
So if you haven’t taken time to play your favorite game with your dogs I hope you find time to play today!