Race for the Toy (or treat) – Layer 1

Objective:  Your dog will learn to focus on a tossed treat or toy while remaining stationary, he will develop active resistance to restraint (opposition reflex) and he will build desire to explode forward quickly when released


*Adapted from Fenzi Academy, Focus Games

Step by Step Instructions Comments
Preparation:  You can use a cookie to start this game but switch to a toy that your puppy or dog likes to play with
If playing this game with a young puppy, sit on the floor and hold him around the chest with one arm and toss the treat or toy with your free hand
If playing with a puppy four months and older, stand up and restrain your dog by holding him back by his halter or collar.
Initially when playing with a toy, you may need to get your dog’s attention by playing together first before restraining him and tossing toy
While holding your dog, toss either a toy or treat out about 2 meters (6 feet) ahead of you and your dog
Encourage your dog to focus on the object and then verbally release him with ‘find it’(for a toy) and ‘get it’ (for food) and let him run to the toy or food.
If he runs to the toy, encourage him to come back to you with the toy by making kissy sounds, taping the floor, moving away, or you can play with a second toy. Don’t chase your dog.
When you are finished playing, say “All Done”
Add distance away from the object as you continue playing this game.
This is a very good exercise for slower, less confident dogs that allows them to find out that speed and enthusiasm pay off.  Let these dogs win the majority of the time.
If you have a very fast dog you could have a helper restrain your dog while you move closer to the toy.  Even with a handicap, your dog may still get to the toy first!


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