Puppy training games are the best way to introduce your puppy to training. If you try to force your puppy into formal training sessions too early, you're likely to bore him and meet with resistance. Lots of play is the best way to ensure you have a happy puppy. Games like these will stimulate your puppy's body as well as his mind. Use some of them to help inject a bit of fun into the training process and get off to a good start.
Fetch is a fairly simple game to play in early puppyhood. Don't worry if the puppy doesn't always chase the ball, or doesn't bring it back. Try experimenting with balls made of different materials and different sizes. My Runty likes to chase a ball about the size of his head.
Fetch is one of the best puppy training games. Focus on fun at first. When you are ready to train the puppy how to Fetch consistently, read up on how to teach a dog to fetch.
This is a simple game to help teach your puppy to pay attention to you. Find out what your puppy's favorite treat is. To play the game, simply hold the treat at eye-level, and then say excitedly, "Watch me pup!" or something similar to get the puppy's attention. When he makes eye contact, praise him with words and reward him with the treat.
Teaching Your Puppy His Name
This is similar to the "Watch Me" puppy game. The difference here is that you are using the puppy's name to get his attention, and his attention needs to be completely focused on you before he gets a reward.
This time, don't hold the treat up for the pup to see. Hide it behind your back and sit or kneel in front of the puppy. Say his or her name in an excited voice. The puppy should only be rewarded when he holds eye contact with you to see what is going to happen. Praise him verbally, then give him the treat straight away. When the puppy starts to understand the game, you may find that he will only glance at you and then look to your hands for the treat. Only reward with the treat if he keeps his attention focused on you.
When your puppy gets the hang of this, try adding other distractions. Have another family member in the room, put on some unusual music, or burn some incense to provide a nasal distraction. See if you can still get your puppy's attention.
This is a very basic game to play with your puppy and a friend. Both you and your friend should have an interesting toy that your puppy likes. Sit about ten feet apart.
Call your puppy to you excitedly, showing the toy. Praise him when he comes and let him play for a minute, then put the toy behind your back. At this point your friend should bring out their toy, and call the puppy over in an excited voice. Continue to switch back and forth.
This is a great game for early puppy obedience training as it teaches the puppy to come when called, come away from distractions, and obey multiple people.
Hide and Seek With a Treat or Toy
In this variation of the Hide and Seek game, instead of hiding yourself, you hide a treat. This doesn't require your puppy to know the Stay command.
You can start this out by hiding scented treats under a blanket in the puppy's crate or pen. From there you can progress to more difficult places. Tip: Don't go hiding treats under your couch cushions, or you may end up with a puppy that likes to go digging for treasure in your furniture. This is more of a back-yard game.
The Puppy Memory Game
This is similar to the 3 Cup Find-The-Treat game on the main Puppy Games page. Grab three or four cups which are not transparent and place them upside down. Have a friend hold your puppy, or tell him to Stay if he knows that command. Get his attention with a treat, and hide it, so he can see, under one of the cups. Have your friend let him go, or call him to you, and let him find the treat.
When he gets the hang of it, extend the time between hiding the treat and letting him find it. You can even try hiding the treat, then playing another quick game, and then letting him find it. See how long his memory is. This is another excellent puppy training game focused on mental development. I believe it also helps to appease the Jack Russell hunting instinct.
The Nose-Touch Puppy Game
This is another great form of early puppy obedience training. Simply hold your hand out, flat, and say "Touch." When your puppy touches his nose to your hand, reward him quickly with a treat. When he gets used to the game, make it more difficult by moving your hand around or holding an object for him to touch his nose to.
Invent Your Own Puppy Training Games
These are just a few simple puppy training games to help get you started. Feel free to experiment with your own game ideas. Just make sure they are safe for you and your pup and don't encourage any unwanted behaviors.
More Jack Russell Puppy Training Games and Information
If you're a new Jack Russell owner, you want to get training off to the best possible start and avoid the common pitfalls. My ebook, The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training, helps you do exactly that. It's a complete guide specifically about JRTs, so you don't have to go through the frustration of trial and error.