Walkies bright and early to the soundtrack of the birds singing, or on a balmy summer’s evening, are amongst the greatest pleasures of owning a dog. And while enjoying the longer walks, we can also do some bonding and gentle training.
1). Agility-style jumping
Look out for logs, fences or obstacles suitable for your dog to jump over. If your dog has any joint issues or is senior in age, she can still play, just make sure the obstacles are low enough to step over. Set up your dog in a ‘wait’ position on one side of the obstacle while you step over it, walk for a few paces, and then turn and call your dog to you. She/he will come running and put in a leap to jump over the obstacle. Praise and treat her/him for coming to you. This is great for refreshing your ‘Wait’ and Recall cues, as well as training her/him to jump on command.
2). Sniffer dog
Take your dog’s favourite treats (try Wag Wins Vegan Cheese & Flaxseed Biscuits or our Peanut Butter & Banana Bones for some healthy, yet delightfully smelling treats to gain your dog’s attention) www.wagwins.co.uk/shop-page/
Halfway through the walk, ask her/him to wait while you ‘hide’ the treat in the grass. Then send her/him off to sniff it out. Once she understands the game, you can make it more difficult by hiding the treat a bit further away, or behind a tree. She/he will love using her/his natural instinct to sniff out the treat! Another great treat made by Wag Wins that you can order online via the website for your dog is our Carrot & Carob Bunny Biscuits– we partially love these treats to play hide and seek, as you hide the bunny biscuits around the garden, creating your dog its very own bunny hunt to sniff out!
3). Hide and Seek
This one you can play indoors around the house or outdoors along a walk – just make sure your dog knows your close by and doesn’t go wondering off. Wait for your dog to be busy sniffing about and slip behind the nearest door or tree. Then call your dog nice and loud, they will notice your missing and come bounding to find you. Give lots of praise when they do. Another great exercise for improving your dog’s recall is to see how she/he keeps an eye on where you are after a few ‘hide and seeks’.
Look out for an avenue of trees or a line of posts or bollards, as these are going to be your natural weaves. Start with your dog on the lead, or heeling next to you, as you weave in and out of the posts, luring and treating her/him so she enjoys the experience. Then try for more and see if she/he will do it off the lead. A great exercise to help with heeling or loose-lead walking.
5). Walking the Plant and Balancing
While you are out on your walk, keep an eye out for a fallen tree. Encourage your dog to hop up: you can use a lure and treat her/him for hopping on to the log. Allow her/him to take her/his time and choose when she/he feels confident enough to hop up. Then see if she/he will follow your hand, so she/he starts to walk slowly along the log. Treat her/him before they jump off, and allow them to jump off anytime they feel like it. Add a cue word, such as ‘walk up’ and ‘walk off’, as you point to the log. You now have taught your dog the skills needed to do the agility dog walk – well done!!!