Now that your dog can readily jump to each of your hands for a treat with the Jump to Hand game, you are all set to begin to teach him the “Cookie Toss game.”
STEPS TO SUCCESS
Before you begin, have ready any treats or toys you may need for the game.
Level 1 – Initially teaching the Cookie Toss Game:
- Distractions should be kept to a minimum so practice in a location where your dog feels relaxed and confident and is safely enclosed.
- Hold a couple treats in your right hand and a couple of treats in your left hand.
- Show your dog a treat in your right hand.
- In the beginning, slowly toss the treat to the right so that it travels about five feet from you and tell your dog to “GET IT” as the treat is moving.
- As your dog chases after the treat, begin slowly backing away.
- The instant he gets ready to pick up the treat, say “come”. Encourage your dog as he moves toward you by praising him, clapping your hands and moving away from him.
- As your dog gets close to you, use your left hand to show him the treat in your left hand and slowly toss a treat toward the left about five feet away and say “GET IT”.
- As your dog chases the treat, begin backing away.
- The instant he gets ready to pick up the treat, call him to you. Encourage your dog as he moves toward you by praising him, clapping your hands and moving away from him.
- As he gets close to you, repeat as before by slowly tossing a treat to the right about five feet away and say “GET IT”.
- As your dog chases the treat, back away as previously done.
- The instant he gets ready to pick up the treat, call him to you. Encourage your dog as he moves toward you by praising, clapping your hands and moving away from him.
- When he is about two feet from you, face your dog and stop your motion. Present the treat in your left or right hand and tell him to “get it” as in the Jump to Hand for a Treat Game.
While you end the cookie toss game with a jump to your hand, be sure to regain your dog’s focus after he jumps for the treat in your hand. You can do this by having him jump for an additional treat or by simply praising, clapping your hands and talking to him as you prepare to play the game again!
Level 2 – Challenging and testing your dog:
As your dog becomes proficient with the “cookie toss game,” and is correctly performing his task to your criteria 80% of the time, it is time to move to Level 2
- Challenge your dog by playing the game in more distracting circumstances and unfamiliar locations.
- Gradually increase the speed and vary distance you throw the treats.
- If you toss the first treat ten feet, toss the second treat five feet and the third treat eight feet, etc.
- Vary the number of times you toss a treat before having your dog return to you and jump to your hand.
- Alternate your left and right hand when asking your dog to jump to the treat.
- Varying the distance will encourage your dog to be quick and intense regardless of how close or far he is from the treat or you! Varying the number of times you send your dog for a treat before he jumps to your hand, and alternating which hand he gets the treat from, will keep him alert and motivated!