Pet Expressway for Dogs

Games for Family to Practice Dog Training Commands

Games for Family to Practice Dog Training Commands

There are many fun games you and your family can play to help your dog practice dog training commands and we have outlined some free games below.


1. Call Out Game/ Obedience Card Game

A fun way to practice with your family is the Call Out Game.

  • One person takes the dog to the center of the room.
  • Family members take turns calling out an obedience command that the dog knows.
  • The Dog and Person have to perform the commands as quickly as possible when they are shouted out.
  • Family members are ready to call out commands one after the other.

Alternatively, you could make a deck of cards out of your dog’s obedience command repertoire. Perhaps writing each command on multiple index cards, in order that you have a stack of at least 20 to 30 cards. Shuffle the deck and then have the family take turns pulling a card from the deck.

Pet and Person have to perform the command read off of the card by the individual family members. This is a fun, interactive way for everyone to be involved in training the dog. Save your cards from The Obedience Card Game and add them to the deck as your dog learns more commands and command combinations.


2. Hi Low Game – It’s All In The Numbers!

Another fun game is the High Low Game. In this exercise, you assign Dog and Person a high number and a low number. For example, 10 for 2 ! That would mean the dog would have to perform any 10 commands you chose. He would get 10 ‘Pieces of Praise’ but only 2 Treats.

It’s the trainer’s job to figure out when he needs to give the dog a treat to continue motivating him to perform the required number of commands. You can have a treat in your command hand the entire time, but can only deliver the predetermined number of treats.

It is a highly recommended way to practice obedience and helps the trainer better understand the body language of a dog who is starting to lose interest. You can continue changing the high and low numbers to make the game more or less challenging for the Dog and Person.


3. Dice Game

The Dice Game would be to simply roll a set of dice and have the Pet and Person perform that number of commands. This is a cute way to get young children involved in the training process because they can be interactive by rolling the dice and cheering for the dog.

Recall Work- More Family Fun

These exercises are for beginners level Coming When Called the whole family can share in.


4. Come to Me, Come to Me, Come to Me!! / Sit Stay Come

The Come to Me, Come to Me Come to Me game can be hilarious fun. Have one family member at one end of the room and a different person at the other end of the room and if you’d like even a third person in another corner of the room etc.

The Steps
  • Person #1 can restrain the dog lightly with a finger or two in the dog’s collar until all are in their positions.
  • Have Person #2 call the dog, saying ‘Fido Come! in a high inviting voice.
  • Then they should give the dog a treat and lightly play with them.
  • The dog should be able to easily leave person #1 without feeling as if they are pulling away or escaping.
  • A few moments later, the dog should be called again, saying ‘Fido, Come!” by either person #1 or #3. Etc.
  • Continue this fun coming when called game, remembering to make the recall very rewarding with praise, treats, and petting. Any dog will catch onto this fun method of coming when called very quickly. It is great fun for the whole family.


5. Practice Sit Stay Come with Family

This next Recall Exercise involves practicing the training commands, Sit Stay Come with your family.

The steps include:

  • One person holds the dog’s leash. The leash should have a tiny bit of slack, so the dog does not feel restrained.
  • Next, the person giving the commands should tell the dog to Sit, Stay. Take a good distance away from the dog. Perhaps halfway or all the way to the other side of the room. Then wait for a short period of time, perhaps 10 seconds to start. And then call the dog.
  • As the dog is called, the person holding the leash should ‘let go’ of the leash by just letting it slide off of their hand so the dog never feels restrained.
  • If during this exercise the dog tries to ‘break the stay’ before he is called, the person holding the leash should give a quick correction (pull and release) on the collar and say “No, Sit Stay” in order to resolve your dog coming ‘Before’ called.

This method is fun because it involves multiple family members. It also is a good method for building Distance and Duration for Sit, Stay Come rapidly because the leash handler can give corrections on the spot. If the dog breaks the stay and the distance and duration can be continued.


Group Exercises

If you have more than one dog in the family, or if you are in a dog playgroup here are some games you can play with multiple dogs.

Group Commands/ Sit Stay Socialization Exercise

Delivering Obedience Commands as a group works as follows.

  • Each dog owner will have a few treats at the ready in order that they can deliver praise for each command and an occasional treat.
  • One person will call out commands slowly and sequentially.
  • Each person with a dog will then, execute those commands at their own pace.
  • This can even be incorporated with the Hi Low game so the participants can practice being limited in the number of treats they are using.

Group Commands are a good learning tool and a great attention training exercise. The reason for this is that your dog needs to focus on you even though he may be hearing other people shouting commands to their dogs too.

The Sit Stay Socialization Exercise consists of each person simultaneously commanding their dog to Sit and Stay. Remember the hand signal for Sit is like a ‘rainbow over the head’ and the hand signal for Stay is a ‘flat palm’ in front of their face. No distance will be used here, we are just focusing on duration. The dogs can be in a straight line a few feet apart from one another or in a circle a few feet apart from one another.

With all in a Sit Stay and their person standing in front of them, we will add a distraction.

For now, just know there are 4 Types of Distractions.

  1. Sound distractions
  2. Motion distractions
  3. Object distractions and
  4. Doggie distractions.

For this exercise, we will use Doggie Distraction.

Doggie Distraction

The trainer and their dogs will take turns, one at a time, walking by the other dogs while they are in a Sit Stay. You can choose to just walk right past the line (or circle) of dogs or you can actually ‘weave through the group of dogs.

The latter of the two is obviously more difficult. No matter which method you choose, the walker should be ‘heeling’ their dog, so they have control over his actions. We do not want the walking dog to invade the sitting dog’s space. We just want to be a mild distraction.

If any of the dogs performing the ‘Sit Stay’ break the stay, the trainer for that dog should say ‘No, Sit, Stay’. If the dog continues to break the Sit Stay, try cradling the dog with one hand on the dog’s chest and one hand on the dog’s back. This would require a kneeling position on the part of the trainer.

This method is really for first-timers and beginners with this exercise. A more traditional way to correct ‘breaking the Sit Stay’ would be a collar correction with the trainer in a standing position. In any case, you do not want the dog to learn that he can ignore you when things are really exciting. So make sure to correct him if he breaks the stay.

You can share these Beginners Level Exercises with your family and family. They can also be used as a companion piece to using sessions and activities of daily living exercises to teach Beginners Dog Obedience. It is all meant to be fun, interactive, and educational.

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Keith Byrne

Keith Byrne

From an early age Keith has been around dogs. He has been involved in dog grooming, dog walking, dog sitting and dog showing as well as voluntary work in animal shelters. His aim is to help all dog owners especially newbies learn about dogs and care for them in a loving, caring and fun way.


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