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Al's Dog Training Tips

Player. Coach. Referee.

Today’s topic is Player. Coach. Referee. So this past Friday, I was in a training session for a basic obedience course with one of my clients and her boyfriend, and their dog is a fairly powerful, mixed-breed dog. It has some American Bulldog and probably some Pitbull. But it’s a mighty dog, and it’s hard to move around. I wouldn’t say that the dog is aggressive in any way, but the dog has some strength and tested my strengths as well.

How To Play Well With Owners

If any of you are wondering what one is learning in a basic obedience one session. It’s really where I’m trying to give people a deep dive into nonverbal communication. How to get the dog into heel position and a stay, and how to effectively start building those two habits. But there is another skill that I had the opportunity to introduce to this dog and my clients. And that was how to have a structured game, how to play well together with the owners.

So as I was playing, I wanted to explain to my client’s boyfriend the different roles that they were going to have to learn how to do. Those three roles are today’s title: Player, Coach, and Referee.

So when you’re playing with a dog, you’re its playmate, and you should be the one that it’s competing against. Now we were playing tug with this dog. As I said, this dog is very powerful but has some nice prey drive. And as soon as I brought a toy out, the dog immediately knew what to do with it. So I needed to become a player. Sometimes I needed the dog to win and sometimes I needed to win. And I wanted to show the dog the back and forth of the game.

As a player, I want to make sure that the dog has somebody that it can compete against, but that is not going to dominate. The other thing is that I am in the role of coach. And that’s where I’m trying to encourage the dog to play the game well. Encouraging the dog when they should be chasing. Encouraging and praising the dog when they’re biting the toy well. Also encouraging the dog and telling them how good of a job they did when they have it in their mouth.

Chase, Bite, and Possess

These three things, chasing, biting, and possessing, tend to be things that get people to be upset with their dog. But when we train folks, we want them to understand the importance of letting their dog know that even though we don’t want you to chase, bite and possess many things, here is something that you can. And not only can you, but we also encourage you to, and we’re happy to do it.

So that coach’s role is vital as we let the dog know that now, as a coach, it’s easy to maybe turn into the dominant player. That you want to win. So you have to be careful with the relationship there. You want to make sure that you’re a good player, only slightly better than the dog. But that you’re also a good coach and that you’re making the dog become better.

But then sometimes you have to fill the role of the referee. How about if the dog is chasing and will bite the ball hard but instead gets your finger? Well, if you think of it as a football game, that’s a 15-yard penalty, unnecessary roughness. And so the dog then has to be penalized in some way. Probably taken out of the game with an opportunity to come back in in a play or two.

So you have these three roles, and the role of referee is the one that’s going to be giving the penalties for foul play. Not necessarily bad play, but play that breaks the rules. Now, the coach might be the one that’s guiding back and forth between bad play and encouraging the dog to play better. And then the player is somebody that the dog can be matched up against that will sometimes lose and sometimes win against the dog.

Three Roles

So these are three crucial roles that people need to fill whenever they’re playing with either their pet dog or sports dog. And I would even venture to say that this should be a role that we all want to fill with any dog that has an ability and a desire to play.

I hope that one was helpful for you guys. Maybe that’s something that you all have never considered being: the Player, the Coach, and the Referee. If you need some help with your dog about how to play better or any other type of dog training question that you can always text me. My text message line is 832-7345 189, and you can send a text message there 24/7.

You can also visit my YouTube Channel for more helpful videos and find more tips like today’s right here on my website

Happy Training!

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