What the trainer needs

You may wish to print out

  • a Summary of the Games that you wish to train for
  • a First Entry Form
  • a Training Record Sheet for each dog that records what the dog has done in the past and in this session
  • the relevant training pages for each Game (eg Recall etc) to help you plan the training
  • The trainer (or a member of the dog's family) will act as the helper, and will also be the tester/witness for the Entry Forms.
  • To check the Game's Equipment Needed section of the website to make sure they have everything they need (eg Recall Equipment)





Sally, Eileen & Sean ran Dog Games training sessions for over 10 years but decided to retire in 2012 due to family and business commitments





that Sally invented, which dog owners can play with their pets using very little specialized equipment and at very little cost. No special tester is needed to witness dogs doing these Games and so THEY CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE. These Games can be played by individuals and their friends at home or in nearby parks or fields, or they can be played at local dog clubs and fundraising events (eg pet, agility, obedience, flyball, ringcraft, puppy classes, village fetes, rescue centers etc).


Each training step is explained using kind positive training methods that help the dog to learn how to do the Games successfully.  Dog Games encourages owners to use toys, treats and other motivators to reward their dogs for learning the Games, and it rewards the owners with rosettes and trophies as their dog achieves the different Stages. They have been designed so that the dog and handler can progress in their own time and to their own ability, can choose whichever Game suits their dog best, and go as far in the Stages as the dog is comfortable and able to cope with.


STARTERS (learning)
First the dog learns the Game by progressing through a series of lessons on the website (see above Game links). The handler learns how to motivate the dog so that it wants to do the Game.

(Starters rosettes always have a white inner ribbon - this is Recall Starters)


BRONZE (consistency)
After Starters the dog shows that it understands the Game by consistently doing it correctly on three separate occasions.

(Bronze rosettes always have a metallic bronze inner ribbon - this is Bounce Bronze)


SILVER (distractions)
Once the dog has achieved Bronze it may progress further by being trained to do the Game correctly while there is the distraction of other dogs running in a nearby netted lane.

(Silver rosettes always have a metallic silver inner ribbon - this is Bounce & Hand Silver)


GOLD (changeovers)
The dog is trained to do the Game correctly whilst another dog is in the same lane with it - going either just before, or just after it has been. This Stage is not done in the Games of Recall or Bounce

(Gold rosettes always have a metallic gold inner ribbon - this is Round Gold)


PLATINUM (generalising)
The dog learns to do the Game in three different locations - not at its usual training ground. This helps the dog understand that it can do the game anywhere..

(Platinum rosettes always have four tiers of ribbons, alternating the game colour with yellow - this is Bounce & Touch Platinum)

Dog Games also awards the handler and dog a silver plated salver - this is the Bounce & Touch trophy (photo size not to scale with rosette)


Each time a dog successfully completes part of a Stage, the handler or trainer completes an Entry Form and fee. The relevant certificate, rosette, or trophy are presented/sent to the handler and the dog’s name could be entered on a Roll of Honour.


Leaflets & Forms provide a variety of different publicity leaflets (including 1 page summaries of each of the Games) which will give quick explanations of what this training has to offer.


See Layout of training area for a diagram showing the dimensions of the training  area and the lanes that we used, based on flyball layout and dimensions.  However, where there are limitations on the size of a training area, the overall dimensions are not compulsory. Work with what you have.



A training session or a test for a Stage consists of a maximum of five attempts in a row, with both the handler and the trainer making sure that the dog does not become too tired or over excited.  To pass a Starters stage, the dog must do 3 correct runs out of a maximum of 5 attempts.  Meanwhile, the rest of the stages require the dog to do all 5 attempts correctly to pass.



  • Step-by-step instructions of how to train each of the Games can be found on this website via the links on the left.
  • Encourage those who are waiting to be trained to stand/sit some distance from the training area, or (ideally) to leave their dogs in well ventilated cars until it is their turn to train. Make sure that dogs do not get too close to one another. If you can manage the environment where the dog is waiting to be trained, then it does not become over excited by seeing or hearing another dog working and the whole training experience is far less stressful for the dogs. They are able to relax and concentrate on what they are doing in the training area.
  • When it is their turn, the handler brings the dog from the car (quiet place) and they enter the training area. The dog is then given time to relax and explore the environment (see Where & When) while the Trainer talks to the Handler/Owner discussing and assesses the dog's behaviour and body language. 
  • When the dog seems relaxd enogh, the training can begin and should be kept short (eg five "runs" maximum) whilst giving the handler and dog the opportunity to return for more training later on once it is their "turn" again. 


  • If this is the dog's "very first entry" for these Games (usually Recall Starters), the Handler/Owner should complete the appropriate section of the First Entry Form. We used the postcode as a reference on the Roll of Honour and Facebook entries for their family to see). The Trainer/Witness to fill in their section and collect the fees due.
  • All other entries can use the Trainers Record Sheet or  Main Entry Form.  The Trainers Record Sheet for each dog is quick to fill in when its training session has completed, and immediately presenting the Handler/Owner with the appropriate Certificate or Rrosette. Do not be tempted to do another stage with a dog for at least an hour. Let it relax somewhere quiet and get its breath back.



  • Handlers need to be reassured not to worry if their dog is unable to do the stage within the five attempts. Try to finish the session asking the dog to do part of the Game that it feels happiest doing, so that it can go and rest without feeling that it has displeased or "failed" either of you. Always finish on a good note.
  • Don't regard the test as a failure - For whatever reason the dog is unable to complete a stage in one of these Games. The Trainer must assess what has happened here, look at it as a learning opportunity for the humans and the dog. It has highlighted an area of the dog's training that needs more practice or a different approach to how it is trained. Stand back and assess where the dog went wrong and make plans for how you can train the dog to understand what you want it to do in later training sessions.
  • It could be helpful for the Trainer to discuss this with the Handler/Owner AND for the Handler/Owner to work on this advice before the next training session. The record should show training, although a fee is still required.
  • Maybe the dog has not yet grasped what it should be doing and you have asked the dog to do a stage before it is capable of succeeding. Or it could have been distracted and unable to concentrate on what it was doing - were you able to do the test under the correct conditions for the level it was attempting?

The main consideration for training Dog-Games is that it there should be no visual or noisy distractions around that may break a dog's concentration and interest while they are being trained (eg. passing traffic, pedestrians, loose dogs that may come over to "say hello" at an awkward moment, members of its family suddenly appearing, dogs/humans standing too close to the training area etc.) See Where and When to Train Dog Games



This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).


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