One of the biggest myths in dog training is that you should not mix training and play. Whoever came up with that idea is long gone from the dog training world. Nowadays, the best way to train a dog is to make it fun. That means lots of games and fun activities.
It is great to incorporate play into dog training sessions. Similar to students, the best dog training occurs when the dog views the activity as a game, not a lesson.
Chase is a great game you can use to teach your dog to follow you, come to you, and be always by your side.
Why play it?
Well, for starters, chasing plays up to your dog’s natural instinct. It is in his repertoire of natural behaviors. This makes it easy for your dog to understand the concept of the game, and then you can instill good behavior and manners using it.
Arousing game of chase will make for a fun way to exercise your puppy. The only thing you need to pay attention to is the right time and place to do it.
Do not engage your dog in an inopportune moment, or you might end up with a less motivated puppy.
Who is chasing who?
Well, the best way to use the chase game is to make your dog chase you? Why? Because I assume you do not have a perfect recall still. Once you have a good recall, you can be the one chasing.
If you play by chasing your dog, you risk teaching your puppy that moving toward it means the game is afoot, and that will make your dog more likely to run away when you approach for a different reason.
This will also hinder your ability to recall your dog. But the worst part is that if you chase your dog, it can lead to injuries when your puppy runs into the street or other unsafe areas.
When to Initiate Chase?
The most important part of this game is understanding the right time and place. Playing chase with your puppy at an inappropriate time or place can confuse your pet in his training. It can also attract the wrong kind of attention.
Do not, I repeat, do not play the game in the company of unfamiliar dogs. This can encourage aggressive behavior from other puppies. Play only during a training session when you are alone with your puppy.
Also, do not play the game in an area packed with people. So, when you and your pup are alone in a safe place, this is when you can enjoy some playtime.
Chase is a healthy activity that is also an exercise for both of you. It helps you burn your dog’s energy and also improves your recall game.
How to play chase?
So, now that we know that you need a safe place where you can play with your puppy, let’s talk about how to initiate it.
The chase up game is great for practicing and teaching recall. It also makes your dog eager to come to you. Of course, for this game to work, you have to have at least some bond and relationship with your puppy.
For the game to work, your dog should be off-leash. If you are afraid, you can use a long line in the beginning, but be wary of the distance.
The concept is quite simple, you run and your dog chases you. But why chase you? Well, you can initiate the game by calling your dog in an excited tone and voice. Or you can bring out some toys and have your dog chase you so that you can play.
It is best that you play it in short bursts. For example, I love to play it when we are out in the open with Milo, and there is nobody around. I let Milo sniff for a while, and when he is not expected, I run in the opposite direction of him.
He instantly starts running as fast as he can towards me. And when he catches me, I give him lots of kibble or we start playing a game with a ball or something else.
Remember, there has to be a reward at the end of the chase. It depends on what drives your puppy. Some dogs love food, others toys, and then there are those who are attention-motivated.