Advanced Training Plan for Shelter Dogs

Building on the Basic Behavior Plan for Shelter Dogs, these games can help shape behaviors before they become problems, or troubleshoot unwanted behaviors you have already noticed. All of these games help get and keep your dog’s attention, help him to find calm, or build positive associations, or make him easier to handle. And they are also helpful as mental exercise for dogs who need a little more brain work.

Easy Training Games for Adoptability and Enrichment

  • Treat for Calm: A simple, fun way to create a quiet, stress-free (or less stress, at least) kennel environment is to reward the dogs for calm, quiet behavior. It is also a great way to impact multiple dogs in a short amount of time. Several time a days, walk through the kennel area, and hand out treats to any dog who is standing, sitting, or laying quietly. If you come to a dog who is barking, jumping, or showing any other behavior than calm quiet, pause for a second to see if the dog will offer the behavior on his own. If not, keep going to the next kennel, but come back from time to time to try to catch him being good!
  • Gate Games: These are done from outside the kennel. Reward sits, downs, and eye contact by providing treats and verbal praise each time they execute the task, whether prompted or offered. You may find as you do this that the dogs in the nearby kennels fall quiet and begin to work for the treats as well – include them in the game! This is a simple way to reward and reinforce calm shelter behavior and increase adoption chances! As the dog(s) master these basic games, increase the duration of the behaviors and the distance from which you can ask for them.

Teach Advanced Skills

Be a team through Focus Games

Teach a dog important focus and self-control skills with games like:

Settle Games for Impulse Control

Settle exercises help your dog learn patience, impulse control, and socially appropriate ways to getting what she wants: