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Your new best friend is just a puppy. But although that means they have little legs and still need the toilet every hour, it doesn’t mean they aren’t overflowing with energy. In fact, you walk into a room and your puppy is doing barrel rolls while at war with a blanket. Yet when you take them out for a walk, they are strangely subdued. You encourage them to walk fast and run but they seem uneasy. Now you know they are full of energy and your house can’t handle it. So, you need to train them to play chase, so they can burn off steam safely outside.
Training your puppy to play chase is actually worthwhile for a number of reasons. It will be good exercise for both them and you. It also makes for some quality bonding time with your best canine pal.
Training your puppy to play chase is thankfully pretty straightforward. Unsurprisingly, most dogs love to run around after their owners. The challenge will come in teaching them the rules and motivating them, to begin with. But once you have an effective motivator, they will soon love playing chase and be charging around after you.
Because your buddy is just a puppy they should tick both the energy and eager to please boxes. This means you could see results in just days. If your puppy’s attention is particularly hard to hold, then you may need a couple of weeks. Master training and you can both stay in shape together. This sort of exercise will also help your pup's muscles and body grow strong and lean, which may help keep ailments at bay later on in life. In addition, if you can train them to play chase then you can also take them out for a quick run instead of a walk if you’re tight on time.
Before you start training, you need to check you have a few things. A large yard or local field will be required to practice in. You will also need a long leash and a pair of sneakers. Stock up on tasty treats or break the pup's favorite food into small pieces.
You may also need toys and a clicker for one of the methods below. A friend will also be required. Set aside 20 minutes for training every other day.
Once you have all that, just bring enthusiasm and a positive attitude, then work can begin!
The Verbal Cue Method
Take your puppy outside. Make sure you have some treats or toys with you. You will use these to get the pup chasing after you. Also make sure there aren’t other people or pets around to distract them.
Because your pal is just a puppy, you need to make it really easy, to begin with. So walk quickly backwards while holding out a favorite toy or treat.
At the same time as you go, give a ‘chase’ instruction in a high-pitched voice. You can use any word or phrase you like for the command, just only give it once. The pup will learn that this word is a trigger and means start chasing.
Make sure you let your puppy catch you soon. You can gradually increase the distance and time you play later. As soon as they do catch you, hand over a reward and give them some verbal praise.
Lose the rewards
Practice this a few times each week. However, make the pup run for longer each time before they catch you. Once they get the hang of it and start running as soon as you give the instruction, you can slowly start phasing out the rewards.
The Pull Back Method
Secure your puppy to a leash and head out to the yard or a local park. You will also need a friend in tow and some tasty treats. You’re going to make the pup want what they can’t have.
Stand in front of your puppy while holding out a treat. Then call their name in a high-pitched voice and start running away from them. As you go continue to shout out in a playful tone.
As you start calling for them and running away, have your friend hold your puppy’s collar for a few seconds. The very fact they can’t run after you will only make them want to chase you more.
After couple of seconds, have the friend let go and then watch your pup chase after you. Don’t run too fast to start with. If they can’t catch you they may quickly give up trying. You can also pat your knees to encourage them to keep running.
Reward & practice
As soon as your puppy reaches you, give them lots of verbal praise and that treat they’re after. The happier they feel when they catch you, the more eager they will be to play again. Now you just need to practice this several times a week. Just keep training sessions short while your pal is still a puppy.
The Long Leash Method
Spend a few minutes every day getting your puppy worked up by a particular toy. You can play tug of war, fetch and any other game that gets them excited. You want them jumping up and down as soon as they catch sight of it.
Now head out to your yard or local field with the toy, the pup, a clicker, and some treats. Keep the pup on a long leash, hold out the toy to get their attention and then put it in a pocket, so some of it is still in view. Then while holding the leash, start running.
Let them catch you
Only run slowly and not too far to start with. Because the dog is a puppy they will still be slow and if they struggle too much they won’t want to play. So let them catch you after a few seconds. The long leash will keep their attention and stop them running off.
As soon as they catch you, click and reward to let them know they have behaved correctly. Do this every time and they will always run until they hear the click. You can then play around with the toy for a minute as a reward.
Lose the leash
Once the pup knows the game and looks confident, you can lose the leash. Continue to use the toy as a lure, but eventually you can lose that too. Soon enough just chasing after their owner will be all the motivation the pup needs.
By James Barra
Published: 04/03/2018, edited: 01/08/2021