Did you know that the classic hot potato game can be used for dog training? And it is one of the best games to practice and improve recall.
As we all know, recall is one of the most important commands your dog should know. Being able to come back when called is what allows your dog to have the freedom of roaming around leash-free.
Well, off-leash life is an earned privilege, not a given. Today, we will talk about how you can use the classic hot potato game to teach your dog recall.
What are the benefits of recall?
Recall is an incredibly useful tool any dog owner should have in his/her training toolbox. We use recall for dangerous situations where you need your dog to come back as soon as possible.
Here is a classic scenario. Your dog sees a cat, tries to run after it, and there is a road he needs to cross. Or your dog saw another dog and wants to go and say hello.
You can use recall to stop your dog from running into the road and being hit by a car. Yes, that is quite a plausible scenario. It never sounds possible until it happens to you.
How to play the hot potato game?
So, how do you play the classic hot potato game with your puppy? As we know, the game is one where a couple of people pass a “hot potato” between them. The goal is for the item not to stay more than a second in any player.
Well, for this classic game-turned-dog training trick, we need more than two family members or friends. Give each family member or friend some high-value treats.
Stand apart and take turns calling your dog between you. Each time your puppy comes to the person calling, reward it with lots of treats.
Remember, try to keep this training session short and at a maximum of five minutes long. After a while, your dog will lose interest and focus. Depending on your dog’s willingness and focus, play the game for a minute or two.
Also, you do not want your dog eating a bunch of treats and spoiling his/her dinner. Yes, you can use kibble for this game.
I would suggest two or three rounds of each person calling your dog. And then you can move to a different game. If you have young children, this game will be even more fun for your active family.
Benefits of Owning a Family Dog
Why are we talking about a family dog here? Because the hot potato game is one where you make the dog part of your family.
Depending on your family’s needs and preferences, you might take a different breed. Just remember, studies show that family dogs have an influence on the general well-being of family members.
Puppies enhance feelings of happiness, security, self-worth, and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation on a daily basis. Remember the movie Beethoven? If you haven’t watched it, play it. And see how a single best dog changed the dynamic of the whole family.
Young children benefit even more. Infants who grow up around dogs have a stronger immune system and show improved psychosocial development as toddlers. But the biggest advantage is that kids with dogs engage in more physical activity. They walk more, play outside more, and are more likely to meet psychical activity recommendations.
And all that leads to improved cardiovascular health and a lower rate of obesity. Some of the best family dogs include Labrador Retriever, Border Collie, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Beagle, Golden Retriever, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, French Bulldog, Australian Shepherd, German Shepherd, and many more.
Depending on whether you have an active family or one that loves to chill, you can find the best dog for you.