1. learning words for items (labeling),
2. knowing where they are (mental mapping),
3. be able to retrieve them (find it games, pick up games, and bring it games),
4. learning visually (colors, numbers, letters, “reading”),
5. learning with their ears (hear it games, alerts, show me games)
6. learning with their noses (scent differentiation, detecting medical issues early)
Most of these, you notice, come in the form of games. Puppies really do learn best during play, and many of these foundation skills can easily overlap. The find it game and hear it game and scent games can turn into “hide n seek” with you or the neighbor’s kids. It’s as much fun for people as it is dogs.
These games do more than teach: they build confidence, intellegence, curiosity, and attentiveness. All the hallmarks of a big skill set service dog. And a just plain great fun and loving friend for life.
I’ll go into lots more detail about each game in the pages to follow, and hopefully they will spark your imagination to try your own ways of playing the games, and build your confidence too!