Outside Play Time With Your Dog
As we always say…a tired dog is a happy dog (and one less likely to get into mischief or problem behaviors). Outside play time not only provides physical and mental stimulation for your dog, it’s great for people too. Step away from your computer or smartphone for awhile and enjoy some fresh air and fun together!
There are so many games and activities you can introduce your pup to…excellent for burning off some energy and promoting further bonding for dogs and their human pack.
Here are our “Top 5 Favorite Outdoor Activities With Dogs”:
(in the backyard that is…long walks are the #1 favorite away from the yard)
1. Hide-and-Seek: Hide-and-seek is a game that provides exercise as well as teaches tracking skills. Begin by telling your dog to stay. If staying is not something your pooch does well, have someone else hold her collar. While she stays in place, find a hiding spot in the yard. Make it easy at first…then you can increase the challenge. Once you are there, call out your dog’s name or whistle and wait for her to come find you. Once she does, reward her with treats and praise! As she gets used to the game, make your hiding spots more difficult or add friends to the game and have her find everyone. For a twist on the game, try hiding her favorite toys or treats around the yard.
Hounds especially love this activity since they are scent-driven. It can be played indoors as well…perfect on cold or rainy days for some stimulation. All dogs like to hunt for hidden dog cookies. A fun and tasty game!
2. Fetch the Ball or Disc: Play a good old-fashioned game of fetch with your dog. Throw a ball or frisbee a long or short distance (depending on the type of dog you own) away from the area you are standing. Encourage your dog to chase after the object. Have your pup retrieve it and bring it back to you. Praise them when they bring it back to you and have them “drop” the object. Repeat the process. Remember that not all dogs are really athletic…tailor the game to your dog’s size & ability and make it engaging. They love having your undivided attention and “pal-time”.
If you would like an extra twist to this game, consider throwing multiple objects for your dog to retrieve. As always, make sure you have a clean source of water handy for your dog to hydrate after the rousing play session.
3. Agility Courses: Agility courses provide your dog with his very own playground! Items such as tunnels, jumps, ramps and weave poles provide exercise and fun in a variety of ways. For a do-it-yourself course, an old children’s play tunnel works well for this. Plus you can use PVC pipe to create jumps and weave poles. If making a course is not really an option due to space or your lack of handiness, start small with a simple hula-hoop. Hold the hoop with the bottom resting on the ground and encourage your dog to walk through. Reward him with a treat when he reaches the other end. As he gets used to walking through, gradually raise the height of the hoop.
Agility games strengthen your pet with valuable physical and mental stimulation. They also grow the bond with him through fun, interactive teamwork. Dogs love learning new things like leaping through a Ring Jump, or bounding over the Bar Jump, and racing through a Tunnel.
View A Portable Dog Agility Course Here…Backyard Fun & Exercise For Your Pooch!
4. Freestyle Obedience Commands: Let your dog follow you around the yard as you issue commands such as “sit,” “stay”, “down” or “roll over”. You can move up to more advanced commands such as “back up” or “jump”. When your dog completes the exercise successfully, make sure to provide plenty of praise and possibly treats for a job well done. Positive reinforcement leads to repetition of desired behaviors.
5. Pool Fun: Fill up a kiddie pool with water and encourage your dog to splash around. Most pups enjoy getting wet, especially on a warm, summer day. You can also toss rubber toys or balls into the water for a fun fetching activity. If your pup is afraid of the water, don’t force them in. Let them explore it when they are ready under supervision.
Exercise Your Dog Daily
It’s important to remember that dogs are pack animals that thrive on companionship. In fact, dogs are more social than humans and need to be part of human families. When you own a dog, you become the dog’s pack and he wants to be with his pack. Play time outside is very important for our dog friends for exercise and companionship.
Provide exercise each and every day for your pooch. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Throw a ball with the dog. Go for long walks. Give the dog a good exercise session before you leave for work in the morning and in the evening after dinner. Both you and your dog will be much happier!Remember Cesar Millan’s mantra of “Exercise, Discipline, and Affection” … in that order for a happy, healthy dog friend. Your dogs are looking to you to be their pack leaders, to keep them out of harm’s way, plus provide direction and consistent routines for their well-being.
A content, well-behaved pooch can join you and your family in more fun activities…both at home and away. Be the calm assertive leader they need! Everyone will benefit and you’ll have a model canine citizen.