Free 10 Day Canine Enrichment Challenge: Day 1 “Flick It”

Flick It Game

The Aim of the Game "Flick It" is to provide physical and mental exercise by utilizing your dog's hunt drive. This Canine Enrichment game is easy to play and will keep your dog engaged. The genius level adds an element of self control and obedience while having maximum fun.

Requirements

  • An open area free of sharp corners
  • Non Slip Running Surface

Equipment

  • Food or Treats - we used Charlie Bears in the videos but dog kibble or small slices of a cheese stick work too

Step By Step

  1.  First you want your dog to be comfortable chasing the food. You may need to remove distractions or potential hazards that are in the way. Just toss the food away from you 3-5 times until the dog is running for the food and then running back to you quickly.
  2. Switch to flicking the food. This will make the treat fly faster and be more unpredictable.
  3. As your dog learns the game, you may have to flick the food faster or in a different direction.
  4. You can continue this game for an entire meal or until your dog starts to tire out.

Genius Level

Once your dog has a idea of the game, you can cover the food when they run back to you and wait to see if they offer you a behavior. We used down in the video. You can use a behavior your dog already has on cue, or wait to see what they will offer you. We don't recommend rewarding behaviors that may become problematic like barking or pawing your hand.

If your dog gets frustrated and isn't responding to a cue, you can take the treat and lure a behavior, then toss a second treat away from the dog.  When the dog comes running back, trying cueing the known behavior and see if they get the new level of the game.

Benefits

Beyond the obvious element of tiring out your dog, this game actually has a practical purpose. Most dogs, once they run away from the handler, can't come back and focus. They get stimulated by the environment and lose focus. This fun game will actually teach your dog to drive quickly back to you in anticipation of the next flick. You can add in cues like "COME" when they are running back to you.

Caution

If your dog is very excitable, like Bo, you may need to take a few moments for them to catch their breath. If they are panting heavily, they may choke on the treat.

Since this exercise involves a stimulating amount of exercise and food, any breed that is prone to bloat should be given breaks. This is a warning for any training that involves exercise and food.

If your dog is close to your hand, be careful not to flick their nose accidentally. That would hurt!

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