How To Get Your Dog To Like You Part I (Games)

Playing with your dog

This is Part 1 of How to Get Your Dog to Like You(See Your Dog Probably Doesn’t Like You)

People who regularly play interactive games with their dogs have healthier and happier relationships with them. Dogs are social creatures and they require regular interaction to thrive. I encourage you to make engaging games a part of your daily routine.  Finding games that appeal to your dog’s natural instincts will bring out the best in them. Regular walks and feeding time are great routines for a dog but getting engagement through games will give you more opportunities to challenge them, and establish an deeper bond through understanding.

Too many dog owners think play for their dog means letting him run wild. There is a time and place for just running around, but by making play sessions productive you’re stimulating your dog’s brain and actually training him to be more responsive to your commands. Below are a few games you can play with your dog that will help you build a better relationship.


Nosey Work
Under normal conditions you always feed your dog treats out of your hand. With this game, you’re going to put the treats and your dog’s nose to work. Start the game off easy by placing little clusters of treats on the ground around the house and then releasing your dog to go find them. Let your dog hunt for the treats with his nose. As your pup gets better at this game, practice hiding the food in more difficult spots! This can be a fun game and you can talk your dog through it encouraging them, as they get closer to the secret spots. It encourages them to problem solve, and as a result builds confidence.


The Name Game
You may not think your dog can understand you, but he totally can. In this game, you’re going to teach your dog to identify objects by their name. The key to The Name Game is practice, practice, practice. Start this game off simple by using one of your dog’s favorite toys. Give the toy a name. Make sure there are no other toys in the room to distract the dog. Now, call out the name of the toy. Try to keep the names basic, like “bear” or “cat.” Say the name of the toy and throw it so he can fetch it. Repeat this a few times.

Next, thing you want to do is grab another toy and repeat the game with that toy. Once you think your dog knows the name of both the toys, put them both on the ground and tell the dog to go get one of the toys by name. Reward the dog with treats and praise every time he gets it right. Repeat this until you are certain your dog knows the names. If you have an extremely smart pup who gets both of the toys’ names, try introducing more objects to his vocabulary.


Dance Freeze Dance
Start by dancing around and acting excited until your dog gets all excited too. After a few seconds or so, instantly freeze, and ask your dog to do a simple command. Make sure it’s something that your dog knows really well like sit or down. The moment your dog does it, immediately start dancing around excited again. When your pup joins back in on the action, abruptly stop again and ask for him to sit or down again. Reward the behavior by just re-starting the party!

Once your dog starts to catch on to the game, mix things up by changing what behaviors you ask for and how long you wait before re-starting the game. Dance Freeze Dance is not only fun and engaging, but it helps teach your dog self-control as he learns to respond to your cues even when he’s excited. Make sure you end the game clearly. For example tell your dog “All done!” then just sit down and ignore him. If you use the same phrase every time, your dog will learn that it signifies the end of play. Ignore all attempts to reel you back in – otherwise, he’ll learn that pestering you to start again works.


Try these fun games out and next week we’ll dive into one of my favorites… Playing Tug!

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