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.

  1. Once to get the big picture and a feel for the training;
  2. A second time to watch the dog and what he is doing;
  3. 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.