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"Lazy" Training Games for Pet Parents

As a parent of both children and dogs, your time is often limited. Dog Training, though completely necessary, often gets pushed to the back burner as more pressing things come up during day to day life. These training games are quick, fun, and engaging for both the dogs and the humans. Plus, they make life with your canine companion so much simpler!


Check out the following "Lazy" Training Games and please let us know if you have any questions!

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Lazy Trainer Game

What: The dog settles in their confinement area while the humans are relaxed elsewhere.

Why: It is important for dogs to be able to relax when they are confined, and separated from their humans.

How to Play:

  • First, set up the dog in their confinement area
  • Sit quietly just outside of their area (within sight), take a deep relaxing breath, and ignore the dog
  • Wait for the dog to voluntarily lie down (make sure you do not do anything to cue a “Down” position)
  • When the dog lies down, mark with “Yes”, and toss a treat to the dog from your seat (try to "bowl" the treat rather than playing "catch")
  • If the dog continues to lie down after eating the treat, continue to toss treats every 3 seconds while the dog is settled
  • If the dog gets up, take a deep breath, relax, and ignore the dog
  • Gradually build duration in between treats, as the dog is successful
  • Practice during mealtime so you can toss kibble while the dog is settled. End the game when the meal is gone, by releasing the dog

Training Video

Here is a demo video for the Lazy Trainer Game while tethered. This is a sneak peak at one of the many games covered in the Primary School 101 Course. The full course is available as a Self-Study, go at your own pace, style course, OR as a Virtual Group Course via Zoom.

Ground Manners Game

What: The dog settles in front of you (not in your lap) when you sit on the ground.

Why: It is important for dogs to be able to relax when the humans are at floor level. This often is an unintentional invitation to play, which results in rowdy puppy behavior, rather than relaxation.

How to Play:

  • First, sit on the floor with a jar/pouch/pocket full of treats
  • As the dog approaches, toss treats away from you, so the dog is unable to make contact with you
  • Next, as the dog approaches, lure into a down position (no need to use a formal verbal cue or hand gesture)
  • Feed treats while the dog is laying down, and periodically toss treats to reset the dog
  • Begin putting the steps together by sitting on the floor and luring into a down at the same time
  • Fade the food lure, so the dog lays down while you sit down
  • Gradually build duration in between treats, as the dog is successful

Training Video

Here is a demo video for the Ground Manners Game. This and many other videos are available on the Pawsitively Trained YouTube channel, as well as on our Facebook Page. For even more puppy parenting tips, check out our free, monthly Puppy Parent Support Group.

Say Please to Say Hi Game

What: Teach the dog to ask politely to greet people.

Why: If dogs learn a behavior that is appropriate and reinforcing to gain access to their people, then they have no reason to jump or bark to ask for attention. This allows us to teach a "no jumping" protocol without ever punishing a dog for jumping.

How to Play:

  • First, set up the dog with some sort of confinement management tool (crate, tether, baby gate, etc)
  • Stand calmly (and expectantly) just out of reach, facing the dog, and ignore any behavior the dog offers (barking, whining, jumping, etc), waiting patiently for a sit
  • Do not tell the dog what to do, simply stand still, and wait
  • When the dog eventually offers a sit (or a down is fine, as well), say “yes” and immediately walk up to them and hand them a treat
  • If the dog remains in a sit, take a couple steps away then immediately walk back and treat again
    • Continue to walk away, approach, and treat as long as the dog is sitting (don’t stop your feet!)
    • If the dog gets up – freeze! Wait patiently for the dog to offer a sit again to restart the exercise
  • Advance this skill by practicing in different places, with different people, and around different distractions
  • If practiced every time someone approaches them, the dog will begin to SAY PLEASE automatically without ever needing to be asked to "sit"

Training Video

Here is a demo video for the Say Please to Say Hi Game while tethered. This is a sneak peak at one of the many games covered in our Puppy Training Program, specifically in the Puppy Pre-K Course. Since there are MANY situations where dogs will be greeting or approached by people, we cover multiple Say Please to Say Hi scenarios throughout our more advanced courses, like the PrepSchool 201 Course and the PhD 301 Course.