Getting the most out of walks during the lockdown
How are you finding the limited walks? How is your dog coping? Are you getting the most out of your walks? Now is the time to start looking at them a bit differently.
It is so easy just to disappear into our own thoughts when out walking, I know I have been guilty of this, and then the next thing you know your dog has got themselves into mischief! Ooops!
So, this blog is not only going to help you to stimulate your dogs’ brain to the max, but it is also going to get your dog to hang out more with you, rather than creating their own fun chasing things or getting into trouble! We are going to make walks an adventure for our dogs!
1. Scent Games - for those dogs who like to find a scent and go off hunting, you can give them a positive outlet for this:
Find it – set the game by showing your dog a treat, then say ‘ready ready’. Once you have your dogs’ interest, throw the treat to the ground and say ‘find it’. Start off by throwing it somewhere they can easily see while you build their confidence in the game, then slowly make it harder, for example slightly longer grass so they have to use their noses to hunt out the food. As your dog gets the hang of the game you can make it harder by throwing it into longer grass.
Hide and seek – start off easy so that you do not stress your dog our by suddenly disappearing on them!
2. Chase games – for dogs that love to chase
Catch me: encourage your dog to chase you by dropping a treat on the floor for your dog, then running off a few steps. As your dog approaches drop another treat to the ground, and run away again, and so on, creating a chase game.
Chaser tugs or flirt poles: start off by letting your dog ‘win’ and catch their ‘pray’, then build up the difficulty once they are confident with the game. Be careful not to create frustration though, it’s a game and meant to be fun.
Chase the treats: throw treats away from you for your dog to chase. You can even throw between your leg, or lure your dog through your legs before throwing the treat away. You can ask them to do something first and then reward with a throwing treat game – this builds value to the food and their experience.
3. Impulse control games
Wait and fetch: teach your dog to wait before they fetch their toy/ball. Start off easy, by just asking for a small wait, then slowly build up the time, and then the distance you throw the ball/toy.
Wait and seek (with ball or person): ask your dog to wait while you hide their toy/ball. Pretend to hide it in places too so that your dog has to use their nose, not just do a visual search, to find it. You can also ask your dog to wait while you or a family member hides.
4. Recall practice
Recall madness – practicing recall between people at fast pace can make it lots of fun for your dog. Each person takes a turn calling your dog. When the dog comes to them, they reward and then the next person recalls straight away, rewards the recall and so on.
Recall to middle - once you have tought your dog middle you can start to build distance so that you can tack it onto the end of a recall, making it more fun for your dog!
5. Dog parkour - building confidence around new surfaces, also brings your dog up to see things from a different level, creating interest.
Feet up – teach your dog to put their feet up on a log or raised surface.
Tree jumps – teach you dog to jump logs or fallen trees.
Suitable Tree – find a fallen tree or large log that's not slippy and wide enough for your dog to walk along.
Did You Know?
Did you know that if you have a high energy dog and you try to increase the amount of exercise they will just want more and more? This is because you are creating an athlete, as your dog gets fitter and fitter.
Did you know that mental stimulation is a great way to tire your dog out? A quick training session or brain game can help your dog expel energy, bring down arousal levels and promote rest time.
Did you know that 20 mins of scent games has the same effect as an hour of running about? This is due to the respiratory process involved in sniffing out a scent or treat.
I would love to hear about your adventures, so why not pop along to my facebook page and share your photos and videos?
If you have any questions about anything in this blog, or would like help with your training or behavioural concerns, please get in touch.
The Rewarding Dog Trainer
Helping you and your dog get the most from your walks