For our dogs, walks are the highlights & most important exercise of their day. To keep it exciting, not only the length of the round but also its design is important. A good collar, a tough leash, a comfortable harness, water bowl, & playing toys are a few things recommended for the perfect outdoors fun. After all: Half an hour of playing and mental work sometimes puts the four-legged victim under more strain than an uneventful two-hour walk. Build games on the go, let your dog master tasks – and you’ll see: this would be fun for your four-legged friend!
Retrieve practice with the dog
So that your dog does not chase birds or squirrels, you should enable replacement actions and to animate it about to retrieve. Attention: Sticks or stones are absolutely not suitable, as they threaten serious injury! Much better to retrieve is a feedbag that the dog cannot open alone. Fill some of the food in the bag and throw off the “prey” just a little bit, praise it exuberantly, as soon as the dog approaches you with it and give it, two chunks of food out of the bag.
Increase the throwing distance and gradually reward only correct retrieving. This is how your dog learns: Teamwork with ‘dad’ or ‘mom’ is fun and brings reward.
Play Hide and Seek
Dogs like to sniff their lives. From this enthusiasm you can make a game. Let your dog look for something that he likes most: his favorite toy or a treat. At first, you may need to get your four-legged friend on track. In that case, approach the searched object together. If he has found what he is looking for, be happy with him, praise and reward him! With time, it will be enough if you send him by “search” – and the hiding places may become more and more tricky: wall cracks, branch forks or piles of leaves are especially challenging!
“Mantrailing” for beginners
Tracking dogs not only do excellent, they are also designed to scent people by holding a worn item of clothing under their noses. A simplified variant of “mantrailing” is to let the dog search for you. To learn this mantrailing basis, at least a second person must be present. In the first few attempts, your dog may watch you move away and hide. At some point you can increase the difficulty and hide out of sight – so he must use his nose to track your trail. Imagine a command with which the second person sends your dog. If he has found you, praise him extensively.
Agility Training for Dogs
The forest is a great obstacle course. Slalom agility with your dog by running it through rows of trees. Even skipping streams is a great exercise to teach the dog agility. Surrounding tree trunks are suitable for balancing, crawling or skipping. A sturdy harness and a durable leash provide the required security.
A particularly nice challenge is to let the dog sit on a lying tree trunk. This is a shaky affair that requires a lot of balance and training for coordination. Help him by inspiring and rewarding him. So beginners will also enjoy agility training in the forest!
Whether on holiday by the sea or by the lake – many dogs love to romp through the water or go swimming with their people. Above all older dogs benefit from the movement in the water, so they can exhaust themselves in a way that is gentle on the joints.
Floating, such as a ball or a Frisbee, are the suitable prey for retrieving games with the dog. Before swimming, take off the harness and collar better, so that it cannot get caught on algae or flotsam. Never leave your dog unsupervised in the water! Especially rivers can be dangerous because of their current. And: A full belly does not like swimming. So food is only after bathing.
Make Digging Fun
Some dogs like to dig, especially the ones you see on the street. Digging could be a great exercise for your dog. Why not make it fun? Having a dedicated digging box for them is a way to encourage them to dig in one approved area – one that doesn’t include your garden, but may be a park or a nearby forest. Imagine your dog digging and finding out that box, which is loaded of his favourite treats and toys. Show appreciation when they find the box & reward them with treats.
Tug of War
Just like humans, dogs too have self-esteem. They like it, when they win at something. Tug of war is a great game which the dogs like winning, thus reigniting their self-esteem. Plus, the strength that they apply to win the tug of war game, results in a great exercise. You need a durable rope toy to play tug of war with your dog. Make sure your dog is calm in a sit/lie position, while you hold a rope or other tug toy that suitably suits for your dog.
Ask your dog to grab one side of the toy, by encouraging them with words like ‘take it’ or ‘get it’, as you grasp the other side. As both, you and your dog hold the rope at the same time – push the dog into the game by moving the rope up and down, back and forth for a few seconds. Continue holding the rope too using two hands, as the dog deepens pulling the rope towards himself. Gradually release the rope towards him and let him win. Reward your dog with one of his favourite treats, once he wins the game. Do not yell at your dog, hug him, pat his back, and speak in a calming tone as your dog approaches you.
These outdoor activities can be really fun, plus ensuring that both: you and your dog burn a good amount of calories, thus keeping your dog healthy, agile & active.