Creating a Game Plan

Creating a Game Plan

Overview of This Week’s Progress:

As I began my first full week of my Learning Project, I decided to start with the basics. I searched through a number of blogs to help begin to understand the general do’s and don’ts of dog training. Because I am choosing to work on a different trick with each of my dogs, I thought a general outline was crucial to make everything work.

A website that stuck out to me during this initial research was McCann Dogs and their article C.A.R.E. – A Measure of Success in Dog Training by Shannon Viljasoo. This article details some key things to keep in mind when training a dog, using the acronym C.A.R.E. This acronym stands for:

C – Consistency

A –  Attentive

R – Realistic

E – Effective

I learned that in order for dogs to be trained, C.A.R.E is key. The tricks I will be working on with each of them require me to be:

  • Consistent in the amount of time I am spending with them. This means I need to dedicate some time with them every day. Though this originally sounded like it would take up much of my time, Viljasoo discusses how consistency is not always the amount of time spent per day (though ensuring daily training is key), it is the consistency in expectations while training.
  • Attentive to the behaviours of my dogs. I need to watch my dogs as we work on the tricks to understand what steps I need to take to progress. A dogs behaviour is a great indicator of their learning.
  • Realistic of what I expect my dogs to learn.
  • Effective in my training. This means if one strategy is not working for a dog, I need to do some research and re-evaluate my training strategy.

After looking through this article, I decided that I would not start training this week. Instead I thought it would be most beneficial to create a training plan. This decision was primarily decided as I was away this past weekend, and as previously mentioned, consistency is so important. Using the outline of training plans and resources, I feel I am ready to begin this journey with my dogs.

Outline of Training Plans:


For Scout, I started by looking at tutorials on how to teach a dog to weave between your legs. When searching for some videos detailing the steps to achieve this trick, I found a video on TikTok by that outlined how to teach this trick in three steps. The steps are:

  1. Lure your dog through one leg at a time, rewarding them each time they successfully move through. After they move through one leg, repeat on the other side, until they are comfortable and confident with this movement.
  2. Put both sides together, trying not to take breaks between the sides. As they connect the two sides, try to stop using the lure for the second half. Keep working on this step until they can do one side with the lure and one side without (continuously).
  3. Work on connecting the weaves without a lure. (And be sure to celebrate!).

I really liked this video because I feel it is achievable in the amount of time I have. I hope to focus on each step for about a week and a half, spending more or less time if he indicates he is or is not ready to move on. Each Monday, I will provide an update on Scout’s progress, as well as some videos and additional resources!


For Chex, I have decided to work on ‘nose targeting’. Originally I had thought this might just be a fun and simple trick for her to learn, but in my research I have discovered how this trick can be a powerful training tool. I have decided to use tips from the American Kennel Club and their article How to Teach Your Dog to Nose Target or “Touch” by Stephanie Gibeault. In this article it is explained that nose targeting can help to redirect dogs attention back to their owner. Which is a really great skill to have, as Chex can be easily distracted. This article also outlines steps on how to train this trick. However, for this project I will only be working on the first few, as I am not concerned with training this trick for distance. These steps are as follows:

  1. Hold out your open palm a few inches away from the dogs nose.
  2. Allow the dog to sniff your hand and use a command as soon as their nose makes contact. (I will be using the command ‘boop’ as this is what we use for Scout).
  3. Praise the dog each time they touch your palm, and repeat these steps.
  4. Keep working on these steps until the dog reacts to the command with the action.

I will be working on these steps with Chex each time she gets a treat (which is probably more often that she should!). I think using small training treats multiple times a day will give her the best chance at learning this trick! Like Scout, I will be documenting her progress weekly.


For Apollo, I have decided to try some of the training strategies and games discussed in the article How to Teach Your Dog to Come: Reliable Recall Training that I found on Hounds Lounge. There are several strategies that I find interesting and would like to see how they work. But, to stay consistent and understand what strategies are working for him, I have chosen one to start with. I feel this strategy will be most versatile in his training. I have outlined this strategy below:

The Puppy

The Puppy is used to work on basic recall in relation to a command. The steps to training this. method are as follows:

  1. While sitting with the dog, use a command. When they look at you reward with a treat. (I will be using his name as a command).
  2. Practice dropping a treat on the floor. Once they have eaten the treat, use a command to have them look at you. Reward this action with a treat.
  3. Try dropping the treat a distance away from you, using the same command to have them come back after retrieving the treat. Again, being consistent with rewards.
  4. Try moving and having them chase you after hearing the command.
  5. Continue to practice at longer distances.

I will be using this strategy when we are playing outside as well as inside. I am looking forward to trying this strategy, but might have to adjust and try different things depending on his reaction to it.


6 thoughts on “Creating a Game Plan

  1. Hey Bridget,

    I really like this learning project. In my life I have been around many puppies that needed training. I specifically like the C.A.R.E acronym, it definitely outlines some very important focuses when training a dog. I understand some dogs can be quite easy to train while others seem impossible to train. The best advice I can give is patience is key! Good luck with this project, I am excited to read about how it goes

    1. Hey Noah! Thank you for your advice. As I work on my project, I can definitely agree that some dogs are much easier to train than others. I hope sticking to C.A.R.E. and being patient (which luckily is also a great skill to have as a teacher), will end up with some notable progress. Thank you for your comment!

  2. Hi Bridget,
    It’s crazy to think that once upon a time, we used to have to read books to learn things like dog training. When my husband and I got two puppies in 2010, we used the book “Dog training for dummies,” HAHA. Okay, that wasn’t all we did….we also went to some in-person classes. It’s super cool that we can access so many online digital resources without even leaving the house. I am looking forward to seeing the puppy progress.

    1. Hi Sabrina! Thanks for your comment. Technology can be so useful. But, I do think we have a “Dog Training for Dummies” book laying around my house somewhere! I loved getting to pick and choose which websites seem like they will work for me, instead of being stuck with a book that doesn’t have everything I need. Plus it’s all free!

  3. GIIRRRLLLL you got your hands full with these doggos 🙂 I love that you chose to teach them some new skills. I think it is so cool how dogs can learn tricks. They are such smart animals.
    I love the set up of you post, it is very informative of what you are doing and why! I also love a good step by step moment! Shows everyone EXACTLY how you are doing this. Probably helps when referencing as well.

    1. Ahh! I have given myself a task! But, I couldn’t be happier, as those doggos are the best. Thank you for you positive feedback on this post, I definitely agree that it will be perfect to reference back.

      I have learned just how smart animals can be this week. I have started my training and goodness they are smart. Although sometimes instead of learning the tricks they use those smarts to trick me into extra treats!

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