Training a dog requires time and patience but the benefits outweigh your effort. In the article, we shall be talking about the “Find it command” and the “Hug” command.
“Find it” it is a fun game and command to teach your dog that taps into his natural inclination to sniff.
Most dogs are naturally good at following their noses. They can often track everything from a dead mouse in the compound to a sandwich you left unattended to. This ability to nose out interesting smells can be channeled into a constructive skill with some simple training.
“Find it” can be helpful in a variety of situations. A quick game of “find it” can help nervous or timid canines to relax around new people or in unfamiliar situations, like at the vet’s office. “Find it” can be a way to help your dog channel excess energy or calm himself when greeting visitors. And “find it” can provide important mental stimulation by encouraging your dog to work for his meals and treats, which mimics the hunting his feral ancestors would have done.
“Find it” is a simple and fun game to teach your dog. Here’s how to get him sniffing.
Teach your dog to play “find it” by encouraging his natural talent for sniffing things out. A verbal or physical signal of the start of the game can help your dog know when it’s time to put his nose to the ground and go searching for something interesting.
To start, give the signal or cue “find it!” and immediately toss a desirable treat or favorite toy. Start easy, by tossing the treat or toy in a flat, open area. If your dog doesn’t understand what you’re asking, help him out by pointing at the item or walking toward it to draw his attention to it.
When your dog finds the item, reward him with praise and repeat the process. Give the “find it” cue and toss another treat or toy (or reuse the same toy if your dog returns it to you after he finds it).
Once your dog catches on and begins to associate the “find it” cue with retrieving the tossed item, start to increase the difficulty and make the task more challenging. Rather than one treat, toss several. Or rather than tossing a toy, ask your dog to stay while you hide the toy. You can also toss treats or a toy where your dog cannot see it, like behind a piece of furniture, and let him hunt for it.
“Find it” can be utilized to turn your dog’s mealtimes into a form of enrichment and mental stimulation. Scatter his kibble on the kitchen floor or across an outdoor patio or use a food puzzle to serve your dog’s meal. Both of these options require him to work for his food, which is good mental and physical exercise.
“Find it” can also turn playtime into hide-or-seek: Ask your dog to unearth his toy before engaging in a game of fetch or structured tug. “Find it” can also be a useful way to encourage structured greetings or calm interactions with people: Toss a toy and have your dog find it and bring it to your guests.
Teach your dog to hug
A hug can make you and your dog both feel happy and loved.
It can be hard to resist giving a dog yours or someone’s else a hug. If your dog enjoys being physically close to you, a hug can make you both feel happy and loved.
But not all dots loves to hug. For some dogs, a physical embrace may be perceived as an invasion of personal space or even a physical threat, especially when the hug is instigated by a person without the dog’s consent. This can result in a dog who is stressed or scared and can lead to a growl or even a bite.
Training your dog to hug on cue can give him a predictable way to interact with people, which can help him feel less anxious.
There are two types of hugs you can teach your dog to give. The first involves the dog standing up on his hind legs and resting his front paws on your shoulders, mimicking the chest-to-chest hug shared between two people. This option is good for quick greetings and works best with calm dogs who already know how to keep all four paws on the floor.
The second option involves teaching your dog to rest his head (and potentially his entire body) against you in a full doggy embrace. This is a nice option for dogs who like to be close to people and enjoy snuggling.
You can teach your dog whichever version is best for his and your hugging personality. Some dogs will prefer one type of hug over another, while others will enjoy both options.
The standing hug
If your dog is already the type who greets you by placing his paws on you, training a standing hug is as simple as teaching him to associate this natural behavior with a cue. Big dogs can be taught to place their paws on your shoulders while you stand up, but with smaller dogs, you will need to kneel or sit to enable them to reach up and hug you.
One caution, though: If your dog tends to greet people by jumping on them, you will need to deal with that behavior before you teach your dog to hug on command and you may want to skip the hugging altogether.
For spontaneous canine huggers, simply add a verbal cue, like “hug,” to a naturally occurring hug (for example, when you walk in the door at the end of the day). Say the cue as he begins to reach up to hug you, and then reward him with a treat or praise. Alternatively, pat your legs or shoulders to invite your dog to place his paws up; as he does so, say the cue “hug.” Pair the cue with a reward of praise or a treat to help him associate the word with the reward.
With enough repetitions, your dog will begin to associate the cue (“hug”) with the action of hugging you. The next step is to eliminate spontaneous hugs. Once he’s familiar with the “hug” cue, limit rewards strictly to times when your dog hugs in response to the command. If he gives you an unsolicited embrace, stand still or turn away and ignore him. Eventually, he will learn that he is only rewarded with praise or a treat or a return hug when you give the cue first.
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