“What only one walk a day? But fido has so much energy he will be climbing the walls after day 1!!”
Unless you have multiple adults in your home who can take turns taking fido for walks, and your dog usually enjoys more than walk a day you may be in a panic right now.
What if I told you that your dog doesn’t need walking that much? What if I told you that all the exercise you are giving your active or lively dog isn't actually helping, but rather creating an athlete, who will just need more and more exercise?
Walks are not only about physical exercise for your dog, they are also about stimulating their mind. All the sniffing, and experiences of being outside can replicated at home. So don’t panic! Here are my top tips to help you survive the lockdown:
1. Enrichment games - these provide great mental stimulation for your dog.
Here are a few ideas:
Cardboard pile up
Egg box discovery
Tennis balls in cupcake tins
Food dispenser toys
More ideas can be found in this great facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/canineenrichment/
2. Scent games – did you know that 20 mins of sniffing has the same effect as an hour of running around? Here are a few suggestions:
Scatter feeding - sprinkling some of your dogs food out side for them to sniff out.
Find it - throw a treat for your dog to sniff out. Start off throwing it some where obvious to teach the game, then as they get better at it you can throw treats in long grass to make it more difficult. See how much fun the dogs are having playing this game in the video below.
Wait and seek - set up some cones in a line, ask your dog to wait while you hide the ball (or treats) under one of the cones to let the seek out. Start of easy by showing your dog which one you are hiding it under, and repeat a couple of times to build their confidence, and slowly increase the difficulty
Hide and seek - Start off hiding somewhere really easy. If you have other family members who can join in, ask them to say "find them" when you have hidden and then call your dog to you. When your dog finds, you give them lots of fuss and a treat. As they start to get the idea of the game you can increase the difficulty. First increase it by not calling out and just having your family member say "find them". Then slowly increase the difficulty of your hiding place. If you don't have a helper, carry on calling your dog and just increase the difficulty of your hiding place. Just as much fun and a great way to build bonds.
3. Toy Play - Get outside in the garden and have some fun with your dog! Check out my video on how to teach play https://youtu.be/czjL4gUIZWQ
Here are a few suppliers to try
Tug E Nuff: https://tug-e-nuff.co.uk
4. Garden Agility - You can buy agility kits online or make your own from household items!
5. Trick Training – there are so many tricks you can work on with your dog. Many can be found on youtube and I will be adding some to my own channel very soon!
6. Training – Have you got a puppy at home? Could your dog do with some core training skills, like sit, down, wait, leave etc. Do you have issues with pulling on the lead, recall or social behaviour that you would like to work on, but now can’t go out and about to work on them. Are you thinking "what’s the point in training these during lockdown?"
Did you know that all training starts at home? This means that now is the perfect time to create a great foundation of training, in a low distraction environment (home/garden). By the time we are allowed to go out and about again you will be ready to start to increase your distraction levels!
I can create bespoke training plans for you, starting with a video consultation to discuss what you would like to work on. I will be here via video calls and emails to support you all the way in your training journey. A new online training course is coming soon too, so watch this space!!
I hope that these ideas have been helpful to you and your dogs.
Stay safe and well :)
The Rewarding Dog Trainer
Helping you enrich your dog during the lockdown.