On this web page below you will find information about
a) Sally's original idea
b) a colour-coded summary of each of these games
c) a colour-coded summary of each stage of these games
d) examples of rosettes and trophies
e) charging and fees
f) observations of interesting behaviours
Dog Games training has a well-structured format for each of the 8 training Games, each of which consists of 4 or 5 stages. There are few rules or restrictions - apart from the dog’s welfare being paramount. These Games are constructed in such a way as to encourage each and every dog to reach its own potential. So long as the safety of the dog, the Handler, and other dogs and humans around it are not compromised, there is no long list of do’s and don’ts.
These Games range from the dog learning to run back to its owner; jump over small hurdles; retrieve an object; run around a traffic cone (or similar); touch a “target box” (or similar) with its paw and combining these last 3 games with jumping small hurdles.These Games can take a dog (and its Handler) through the basics of agility, flyball, clever dogs etc.
Each Game is colour-coded (see below) and each stage is also colour coded (see below), thus providing a colourful array of certificates, rosettes and trophies to be achieved.
After completing Sheila Harper's International Dog Training School (IDTS) course (see Development of Dog Games), Sally started thinking about an appropriate way of training dogs from whatever background or breed, with or without issues, from puppies to older dogs, rescues and non-rescues. She particularly wanted to train dogs in a very relaxed, stress-free non-competitive atmosphere providing fun for the dogs and training their owners.
In 2004, Turid Rugaas invited Sally to demonstrate these Games at the Pet Dog Trainers in Europe (PDTE) AGM in Norway and was very much in favour of this new approach to training in a calm 1-on-1 situation particularly for dogs that struggled with too many distraction. Several PDTE members in the UK, Europe and around the world have continued with these Games and have also developed their own versions of them.
Most dog training clubs deal (and successfully) with the median of dog behaviour, ie those dogs that are fully adjusted to living with humans, in the human world with human activities. There can often be problems with the outliers, those dogs whose behaviour is towards the extremes of behaviour.
At one extreme is, what I call, a "lodger" who is living with their human family but does not seem to have a relationship or affinity with them at all. He is surviving but seems to have retreated into himself. These games can help to develop a relationship.
At the other extreme is the dog that is living on its nerves, fully stressed and just reacting to each situation. Sprinkles(TM) and Mind Games (Kongs, tuna tracking etc) will help to bring these levels of adrenaline down particularly by allowing the dog to sleep and sleep deeply after mental activity. These games can also help by showing the Owner how to handler these situations.
Dog Games training is made up of 8 Games, each of which is broken down into 5 separate Stages - Starters, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum - which are non-competitive and have no restrictions on the speed of the dog.
At every Stage certificates, rosettes and (at Platinum) trophies can be given in recognition of the achievements of both dog and handler.
Always begin training at Starters and progress from there. It is not compulsory for dogs to do all these Stages but they have been provided so that each dog can train to its own ability. Dogs must not be pushed into situations that they cannot cope with (eg running too close to other dogs in Silver) and handlers and trainers must respect each dog's imitations. Some dogs and handlers work steadily through most or all of the Stages of Recall before trying a new Game, while others reach Bronze or Silver Stages of this Game and then try another Game (returning to the higher Stages of Recall when the dog is more confident, experienced or older).
|Game||What the dog learns|
|Dog runs back to its owner *. “Obedience” commands such as sit, stay, wait or down are not required in any of these Dog Games, progressing to a distance of approx 50ft from the start/finish line.|
Dog runs back to its owner over hurdles progressing to jumping four 6” - 8” high hurdles over a distance of approx 50ft from the start/finish line
|Dog retrieves ANY article that it enjoys carrying in its mouth. The article must not be thrown for the dog to chase and retrieve, instead a helper places it on a rubber car mat in one particular spot progressing to a distance of approx 50ft from the start/finish line|
|Dog is sent over hurdles, retrieves an article (see Hand) and brings it back over the hurdles to its owner progressing to jumping four 6” - 8” high hurdles over a distance of approx 50ft from the start/finish line|
|Dog is sent to run round a large traffic cone and back to its owner, progressing to a distance of approx 50ft from the start/finish line|
|Dog sent over hurdles, runs round a large traffic cone and returns to its owner over the hurdles progressing to jumping four 6” - 8” high hurdles over a distance of approx 50ft from the start/finish line|
|Dog touches a “marker” (eg. a piece of heavy duty sticky tape) with its paw – eventually it will touch the marker on a target box, progressing to a distance of approx 50ft from the start/finish line|
|Dog sent over hurdles, touches the target box with its paw and returns over the hurdles to its owner, progressing to jumping four 6” - 8” high hurdles over a distance of approx 50ft from the start/finish line|
Each of these 8 training Games is further broken down in to 4 or 5 separate Stages and as the dog progresses through each stage, he is rewarded with praise and treats. Meanwhile Dog Games had a simple method of rewarding the Handler with Certificates and Rosettes as well as a Trophy (see below) on completing the last stage, Platinum. (The Certificates are easily computer generated.)
As seen below, the various stages that the dog will learn -
Starters - he learns the Game
Bronze - he learns to do the same Game consistently
Silver - he learns to do the same Game with distractions
Gold - he is taught to cope with working closely with another dog while doing the same Game. (This stage is not done with during Recall and Bounce Games).
Platinum - The next and last stage of this Game is to generalise where and when to do the Game.
|Stage/Level||Recall Rosette||Description of what the dog learns|
|The dog learns the Game by progressing through a series of lessons on the website. The Handler learns how to motivate the dog so that it wants to do the Game|
|The dog shows that it understands the Game by doing it correctly and consistently even with a change in the environment|
|The dog is trained to do the Game correctly while there are distractions nearby (eg. other dogs running nearby in a netted lane).|
GOLD (near another dog)
The dog is trained to do the Game correctly whilst another dog does the Game in the same lane. There is no Gold stage in Recall or Bounce.
"4 tier rosette + trophy inscribed"