Training with play is a great way for you to spend time with your dog and incorporate some obedience training while you’re at it. If you ask any trainer how they get their dogs to follow commands, they will at some point always use a train and play method. This gets your dog excited, focused and motivated. It also forms a deeper bond between you and your dog because she will start to anticipate you’re commands.

The best thing about the train and play method of training is that it’s easy. First, you need to figure out what type of play your dog enjoys, one that will get him excited. My blue heeler loves fetch, tug of war, frisbee, you name it they all work with him. Ruby on the other hand, a terrier mix, isn’t as easily entertained. So, getting her interested is more of a challenge. After some experimentation I found that she loved a certain toy squirrel. If your dog doesn’t seem to like toys, all is not lost. Try your best to make the toy look fun and interesting. Move it across the floor, throw it around and retrieve it yourself, and try it with multiple toys if the first toy doesn’t work out. Your dog might end up being more interested in jumping around with you instead of the toy at first and that’s okay too. As you continue to implement these train and play sessions in to your day, you dog will start to become much more interested in the toy than they were before.

Once your dog is interested in playing with his toys, there’s a lot of different things you can teach him. You can teach sit, stay, lay down, come, tug, leave it, and fetch to name a few, rewarding with toys and play after the command is followed, instead of a treat. Treats are great positive reinforcements too, but with play it really opens up the doorway to the lifelong bond that you want to achieve with your dog. Dogs and owners who play together, stay together.