This game teaches the dog to focus on something other than you and also to wait patiently, two very important life skills
It uses predatory play which is how many animals learn focus and patience naturally
You need some nice visual training treats that you will be able to flick with your fingers across the floor
I used little square pieces of cheese or sausages for this game
The idea is that the piece of cheese is the mouse
You will place the piece of cheese on the floor with your hand over it, this is the mouse in its hole
If the dog attempts to get the mouse by sticking its nose in the hole, hold your hand over it. The dog needs to back off and wait patiently for the mouse to pop its nose out.
To start, as soon as the puppy backs off, push the treat with your hand so it moves and the dog can catch it
Do this around 4 times, then when the mouse pops it’s nose out if the dog lunges forwards the mouse will just go back down the hole (you put your hand back over). Once the dog backs off and the mouse can poke its nose out for a couple of seconds, you can flick the treat across the floor.
The dog needs to learn to wait patiently for the mouse to feel that it is safe enough to leave the hole. As the mouse decides to run this is where you flick the cheese the dog can then chase and catch it.
You can then build the duration of how long the dog can wait patiently for the mouse to run
Once you have practiced this, you can also use it to maintain focus. If the dog is waiting patiently for the mouse to feel safe and run, he becomes distracted and decides to look away at something else you can remove the cheese and put it in your pocket so when the dog looks back, the mouse has gone. He hasn’t gone back down the hole, he ran away and the dog missed a tasty snack.
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Copyright © 2019 Jane Ardern BSc (Hons)