The Catch Up Game

The  Catch Up Game

’Keeping Connection off Lead’

Many people don’t feel confident about letting their puppy off lead and when they do let their puppy off lead they often lack confidence. This is often very expressive in the owner’s body language and the owner often follows the puppy around. The puppy leads the walk and the owner follows.  To have good off lead control and connection you need to be confident in your behaviour and your body language.

If the owner is following the pup around and giving constant verbal feedback such as recalling the puppy and asking it leave things then it doesn’t really need to concentrate on where you are and what you are doing, the puppy knows what you are doing because you are constantly on its back he knows your there so he can easily ignore you.  He can just get on doing what he’s doing and still feel safe

This game turns the tables a little and teaches the puppy to keep an eye on you and stay connected

Firstly you need some tasty treats for this game they need to be quite big so they are visual and will also travel well when you throw them, square pieces of cheese are perfect for this.



The area of ground you first teach this needs to ideally be concrete or short grass so the food rewards are very visual, you don’t want them getting lost in long grass, not just yet anyway. You can start this game in your garden if you have enough space

If you are uncomfortable about letting your puppy off lead then I would recommend that you used a long training line that will be attached to the puppy which needs to be wearing a harness, you should only use training lines attached to harnesses for the safety of the dog.

Drop a couple of pieces of cheese on the floor (If you are comfortable to do this off lead, take the lead off as you drop the treats) if not remove the normal lead and attached a line.


Walk away confidently and briskly, the aim is to achieve as much space between you and your puppy as you possibly can


As your puppy lifts its head up it will notice that you are walking away and will start to run towards you to catch up.

As the puppy catches up with you you’re going to click show the piece of cheese to the puppy , putting it in its eye line and then throw the piece of food directly in front of the dog so it sees the cheese leave your hand and go onto the floor


For the first few occasions is important that you don’t throw too far or the puppy might not see the treat leave your hand


As the puppy is eating the treat, again briskly walk away. As the puppy catches up with you repeat the exercise clicking the catching up and throwing the cheese away in the dog’s eye line.

Once the puppy understands the rules of the game you can start to throw your cheese further and faster . If you have ever skimmed stones on the water you are aiming for the cheese to skim along the ground in a similar way.

Once you have played this game three or four times with your puppy you can start to try this in the longer grass and slightly more distracting environments.This game is lots of fun.  The reason for this the puppy is not just having cheese as a reward, the game involves the running, chasing, catching, searching and finding cheese.  These are lots of the things that dogs love to do naturally and your puppy is now a learning to do these fun things with you when off lead.

This game encourages your puppy to keep its eye on you and stay connected when the lead is removed

When you have some to the end of the game recall your puppy to you, drop some treats on the floor by your feet and reattach the lead while they are busy eating their tasty treats



Watch the Video 

Copyright © 2019 Jane Ardern BSc (Hons)


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