There’s one very important thing to know about puppies. And that is that training the puppy starts the second he arrives with you. It does not matter if you have not started any type of formal training. If you have a puppy or dog in your family, you are a trainer, and your puppy or dog is learning.
Playing games will mentally and physically exhaust your puppy, teach him he can be brilliant and that learning is fun. Games will set you and your puppy up for a lifetime of success.
Some time ago I did an impromptu video with borrowed puppy, Archer, to show 5 games that are super for a puppy. These games will fix “puppy brain” and let you get some work done while your puppy naps!
These 5 games set you and your puppy on the path to having a brilliant relationship, and you are ‘dog training’. Let your puppy make choices as you advance through the games and watch the video a few times to see the games within the games. You are engaging your puppy’s body and brain. Start with a couple of games and then progress to adding more.
Game 1: Establish for the puppy that training is fun!
Game 2: Teach the “I LOVE my name!” game, and then introduce a word so your puppy knows when he can look for a cookie on the floor.
Game 3: We’re moving on to “I LOVE this place!” so your puppy is comfortable and confident in an ex-pen.
Game 4: Puppy learns “now I can move!” and to wait.
Game 5: Having “Four on the Floor” means good things happen, and puppy discovers that Good Choices = Good Consequences!
As you can see, using the base of a crate is going to set your puppy up for success with crating. Of course, I recommend that you play Crate Games as well with a puppy, as that is going to bring you many benefits in your life together, including for housetraining, safety, sleeping through the night, travelling and vet visits just to name a few.
How to Watch Dog Training Videos
Now, I know you are probably thinking “but I know how to watch a video, Susan …. sheesh!”. And that is true. But to get the most out of learning so you can have just as much success with training your dog as I have training my dogs I’ve got some specific tips for you.
Watch the video 3 times.
- Once to get the big picture and a feel for the training;
- A second time to watch the dog and what he is doing;
- And a third time to watch the human mechanics.
Some of the best learning comes from paying particular attention to the training set up, my physical position, what my hands are doing, and where and how I reinforce the dog.
Over the past 30+ years, I have learned to use my physical mechanics and have put in a lot of practice so I can maximize the success of dog training sessions and create the most fun for my dogs. If you copy my mechanics, it’s going to save you a lot of hours. As Bob Bailey says… “training is a mechanical skill”.
The 5 games are not just for puppies. You can play with a dog of any age.
Today I am grateful for how much fun dog training is and how much joy it brings me and my dogs … and borrowed dogs like young Archer in the video.
Omg that was a wonderful video!! I’m so excited to try these with Rooster!
My puppy is getting up from the bed, before I can say okay, search. I notice he tends to move as soon as he sees me twitch. How do I get him to hold the wait longer?
Susan, I am getting a new puppy and don’t have a crate only a covered kennel type thing with the door on the front. Should I invest in a crate instead?
Anyone know what cookie Susan is showing in video?
Hi Diane, the word to get a throw cookie is different from the release word “break”. Susan’s podcast video on permissions in dog training is great for review.
Why not just start w the final release word, Break, instead of introducing 2 words & throwing away the 1st word, cookie. ?
Hi! Just getting started with a new 4 month old puppy. Any advice for redirecting a mouthy puppy who loves to bite at clothing, blankets, fingers, feet, etc. She loves to chase us when we’re walking and jump up and grab shirts, etc.
This is great! We’ve been playing since our pup came to us! Mornings when she is super excited or when I get home from work, she jumps for treats – I turn away and ignore her and I don’t give her any until she sits but I was curious how to help curb this behavior. She is also a lick machine and constantly licks our faces or hands when we have treats – any ideas?
Thanks so much this is all so helpful!
Hi Susan, my lab puppy is only 6 weeks old…at what age can I start cookie training? I have a hard time getting her to eat her regular food. Thanks for all you do!
For those shy about videoing, I am working on becoming a National Board Certified Teacher, and THE highest weighted aspect of the process is a reflection on two video clips. This is often referred to as “Because I KNOW this about my students, I DO this…” Board certification is akin to passing the MCAT or Bar Exam. If master teachers know video reflection is important for teaching humans, how much more important is it for teaching our pets who can only express themselves through actions we have to NOTICE. This is why I chose this program, it is a BEST TEACHING PRACTICE. I’m so excited to watch Pippin and myself grow through the process.
My Pippin goes crazy for popcorn. Is that okay to use as a high value treat?
Hi Susan, I ha e been thrilled to recently find your podcast and blog, as we just added a new puppy to our family. She is our second scotch collie (or first is now 3 1/2), and I wish we had had your guidance on puppy biting back then! I recently purchased Crate Games and want to start with both dogs, but I’m very confused about how to “end” a session. I just tried with my adult OTSC (who is crate trained) and he was very confused about returning to the kennel on his own, he just laid down and stared at me waiting for a cue. I did a collar grab with kibble and he went in on his own, which was then celebrated with high value reward and praise. Then I did a few more step 1 rewards but how do I end the game? If I give him a release to come out, isn’t the idea that he would want to go back in on his own? And then expect another celebration? Very confused about how to proceed.
Susan, I have been using some of the free things that you offer to work with a puppy, that I believe was abused. She is a 6 mo old Australian Shepherd. I am having a terrible time with her and I don’t know what to do next we are working on 4 on the floor i love this place she has those down. I just need some direction on what to do next. She gets excited and jumps on me and I am about to have surgery so I can’t have that! Good news for her is ill be home for atleast 6 weeks with nothing do but puppy love! She is a hot mess. I am wanting to purchase some of your products but idk what would be best.
Hi Crystal, well done for rescuing your puppy and taking the time to play games with her. I’m no expert but I have 2 Australian shepherds that I hoped would work my sheep. I bred a litter in January and kept back Skylar, now 7 months. I’ve been doing Susan’s training which is great but still have issues with Skylar getting really excited and jumping up. I have 8 collies but find the AS a harder dog to train. Once they mature they are the most loyal amazing dogs ever but that seems to take longer with this breed. And they don’t like repetition unlike the collie so I can only play each game for a minute. There are a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to the breed which offer a lot more advice too. Best of luck, Rose
Loved it. My puppy just turned 8 months and we already play some of these games. Looking to progress and learn a lot more.
Wow! Thanks, Susan! I just gt a new puppy and she bites. I am working on following the protocols so we can stop this. You’re so right about the fact that that is one way they tell us something. Tonight I got her to stop!
I love the way you train dogs and how you bond with them.
These are great games I’m planning on playing with our new Yorky puppy.
We have a 6 year-old Yorky who had a 4 puppies litter. We kept one of the female puppies for them to be life companions, but unluckily we had a terrible accident and she’s no longer among us. She was 3 months old and they had bonded, they played together… It was so wonderful.
Now we’ve have this new puppy for 5 days, and our older dog doesn’t care much about her. She growls at her all the time, setting limits all the time. We feel sorry for both of them and I wonder if you could please give us some tips on how to proceed when introducing a new puppy to our dogs.
Next time when I will plan games for dog consider it as first priority
Having such a good time with my dog and he is having fun too. Thank you so much for this kind gift and your amazing positive mind!
thank you. such helpful and please way to work with my puppy
What an enjoyable way to train a puppy. Fun, fun, fun! Thanks Susan
At what age do you typically start this?
I loved this so much!!! Thank you for showing the importance of choice and relationship building in dog training!
Susan, your techniques are awesome!
Thank you for sharing with us while we are ‘stuck at home’…. great results, I am grateful for being home with my 4 month old puppy, Puzzle, and don’t feel cabin fever or ‘stuck at home’.
I enjoy Your videos and training (also Home Schooling) very much.
But am a little afraid that the dog (11 weeks Old puppy) Will always look a me as a cookie dispenser !!
When and how do You change to train without cookies ??
Hi Lene, don’t worry, if you follow the steps exactly as soon, and make sure the reward comes after the behaviour (and not before), you’ll get amazing transfer of value to you and your dog doing what you want. It’s covered in Home School, but here’s a blog post where Susan talks about transfer of value.
So great as my puppy is learning so quickly I sometimes go too quickly
Thanks Susan some great advice
Thanks Susan, great content
Thank you very much! It’s so helpful!