A Quick Look at One of the Training Games in this Course

“Chase the Treat” is exactly what it sounds like - a game where your dog chases the treat that you have in your hand.

What this game teaches:

  1. The verbal cue “get it!” - your dog learns that “get it!” is a release word to go get a specific item that she wants (like a treat that you have tossed).
  2. Provides a way for you to breakup the stay training in an exciting, but controlled way. This is especially nice if your dog enjoys moving and/or chasing things.

How to Play:

  • Mechanics
    1. If you have a large dog, you will stand. If you have a smaller dog or puppy, you can sit, kneel, or bend over while standing.
    2. Have several treats in one hand.
    3. With the empty hand, take one treat from the other hand with all of the treats.
    4. Bring both hands up to your chest. (This should draw your dog’s eyes up to you.)
    5. PAUSE
    6. Enthusiastically say “get it!”
    7. Then quickly lower the hand with the single treat just below your dog’s nose level. (The hand storing the other treats that are not in use can be placed behind your back, at your side, or remain at your chest.)
    8. Move the treat away from your dog in a fashion that encourages the dog to chase it.
    9. Allow your dog to chase the treat until criteria is met (see below), and then relax your hold on the treat to allow your dog to eat out of your hand.
    10. If your dog gives up chasing the treat too early, encourage her to come to your hand and take the treat.
  • Criteria refers to what your dog must do to get the treat
    1. There is no need to be very specific with criteria when playing this game. (Note that in most cases you should be VERY specific with criteria.)
    2. Your dog just needs to continue to follow the treat until you give it to them.
    3. If you are just starting the game, do not ask the dog to follow the treat for a long time before giving it to them. If you wait too long, the dog may give up or get frustrated, which could result in hectic behavior.
    4. Keep in mind that what is considered a long time is relative. 10 seconds may be too long for some dogs.
  • Goal
    1. Your dog playfully charges after the treat in your hand upon hearing the verbal cue “Get it!”
    2. Your dog confidently chases the treat until you release the food.

Helpful Hints:

  1. If your dog lacks confidence in the game, start small; only require your dog to chase the treat for a few seconds. You can slowly build duration of the chase as your dog becomes more confident.
  2. If your dog is at the edge of spiraling out of control, consider lowering the level of excitement by using a lower value treat and/or decreasing the speed of the chase.
  3. You are welcome to have your dog jump up to grab the treat if you both like to play that way.
  4. You do not necessarily need to run all over the place (unless you want to and your dog likes that). You can easily have a nice game of chase by creating back and forth movement with your hand while you remain stationary. Figure out what works best for you and your dog.

Video examples: