In this game you have to distribute about ten buckets around the training field. The course instructor places in each bucket a paper with a command (if it’s sprinkling or rainy season where you live, it’s best to put a plasticized card or paper). One of the buckets has a joker in it, in other words, there isn’t a command in this bucket, but a dog treat the dog will be allowed to eat. The dog trainers are then told to walk with their dogs near three bucket of their choice. The first dog has to sit next to the bucket, so that the dog trainer can read what the order is on the card that is then done by the team that after doing it goes to the next bucket and orders another etc. The teams go out alone to do this practice. The dog trainers that are waiting have to watch and guess what the card says to do. The team that pays a lot of attention will soon notice what order coincides with each bucket. This is why it is convenient to change the cards when there are bigger groups. It would still be recommended anyway to practice this with smaller groups, since the wait for the other teams would be relatively long.
The commands on the cards could be:
- Make your dog lie next to the bucket, go toward the group of dog trainers that are waiting, say hi to them and then go back with your dog!
- Have your dog lie next to the bucket, go toward the group of dog trainers that are waiting, pick out one of the dog trainers and his or her dog and along with this team walk around the bucket, passing by your dog several times at the distance you want. Then, accompany the dog trainers group, thank him or her for his participation and say bye.
- Have your dog sit next to the first bucket, go to the next bucket and then call your dog!
- Have your dog lie down next the bucket. Just in front of you there are three tennis that you need to throw into a basket that is a few meters in front of them. If you miss then take your time to find them. All the while your dog is waiting patiently for you.
- There are a number objects that your dog needs to fetch. Have him get on of the objects and take it to the next bucket. Then you will get another of the objects yourself and carry it to the same bucket. You can even have your dog follow you at “Heel.”
- Please help yourself to the Joker bucket while your dog watches.
The course instructor can combine different ones of these exercises into a fun and challenging game. Always be sure to form the exercise with the level of training the dogs have and the level of expertise of the trainers. There are many factors that can be added in, such changing pace, distractions etc… The key is to challenge the teams while setting them up for success.