To start playing indoors, pick a room with enough space for tail-wagging romps, and stash the breakables out of puppy’s reach. Intermingle tricks and games with a few reinforcing obedience commands, and you’ll have a fun-loving dog with good manners. Let the games begin!
Play hide-and-seek. Have your dog heel by your side in a room. Throw a treat across the room. As your dog darts after it, slip around the corner out of sight and call your dog by name. When he races to you, reward him with a treat and plenty of praise. Repeat four or five times.
Teach your dog to behave like a Houdini hound. Hold a small treat or ball in one closed fist and keep the other fist empty. Extend both arms out and ask your dog, “Which hand?” Let him sniff both. When your dog noses the fist with the toy or food, open your hand, show your dog, and praise. Repeat, randomly moving the toy or food into your left or right hand. Now you’re both ready for an audience!
Have your dog “find the keys.” Stash your keys on the couch, under a chair, or in your dog’s bed. When he brings them to you, reward him with a treat. Then stash them in a new place and repeat the retrieve-and-get-a-treat steps.
Play “get the remote control.” Dogs like jobs. While having your dog fetch the remote brings out the true couch potato in you, it gives your dog a mission. When he brings you a remote, reward him with a treat and plenty of praise. Then sit down and enjoy a good canine caper together — perhaps Frasier or Lassie reruns.
Excerpted from 50 Simple Ways to Pamper Your Dog by Arden Moore. (Storey Books, 2000)