Is your dog getting bored of your bubble? Make it fun again.
Just like you, your dog might be starting to miss socialising with his furry friends at the beach or park. The old walk around the block might be becoming a bit boring and repetitive now, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some fun and simple ways to make your dog's bubble more awesome.
- Take treats out on the walk!
Reward behaviours that you like. Heck it’s the perfect time to practise training, with so few distractions out and about. Capture behaviours your dog offers that you want to see more of by saying “yes!” (or click your clicker) the exact moment they are doing the behaviour, and follow that with a yummy treat.
For example if you stop to cross the road and your dog looks up at you, mark that desirable behaviour, say “yes!” and immediately feed a treat. Or click and treat!
Practise tricks and recall. Have fun! They will love playing with you and earning treats for tricks.
- Let your dog sniff to his heart's content.
Use a nice long leash so that your dog is able to sniff and explore whilst you are following social distancing rules. This is the simplest way to make your dog's bubble more awesome. Let your dog lead the way with his nose and follow him wherever he goes. Your only job is to make sure he is heading in a safe direction and you are sticking to the social distancing rules.
- Try something new: Parkour for dogs A.K.A Barkour!
Barkour is also known as Urban Agility or Doggy Parkour. Just like in the human version, in Doggy Parkour we work on ways to conquer obstacles, such as climbing, balancing, and jumping. Doggy Parkour is a non competitive event, but it is super duper fun and a simple way to make your bubble walks more exciting!
Teaching your dog to put his paws up on things. Jump up and off of things. It's a super simple and fun way to make your walk that next level of awesomThis is especially fun for dogs that love to bounce and jump. It’s also a fantastic way to teach your best fur friend to pose for the camera. Do it for the gram, woof!
Start by training at home. It’s always easiest to start training a new behaviour at home where there are less distractions than out and about.
If there is somewhere that your dog already likes to jump up on, practise there.
Perhaps the couch or a step? The deck?
Using the couch as the example:
With treats in your hand and your dog with you, standing next to the couch.
Point towards the couch and say “up!” when they land on the couch say “yes” and immediately feed a treat. Then point to the ground, say “off”, mark the moment their paws hit the floor by saying “yes” and feeding another treat. Repeat a few times so your dog starts to understand what the cue words “up” and “off” mean.
Start with low objects to build their confidence and coordination.
When your dog understands what “up” and “off” means you can start generalising this to other objects. Make sure to choose objects that are stable and safe options for your dog to be jumping on or putting his paws on! Make sure they aren’t too high, or wobbly!
Now grab some treats, your leash and go out for some Barkour with your best dog friend!
Teaching your dog to jump up and off of things like this helps build trust and strengthens the bond between you and your dog.It helps improve coordination and balance. It is also a fantastic way to redirect your dog's focus and physical position. It’s also just good old fun!
The bubble doesn’t have to be boring! Remember to keep your dog on leash and keep following the social distancing rules. This is a great way to make your (now very regular) walks pawesome again!
Have fun playing with your dog this week! Tag @petdirect and @howlistichelp in your videos or photos of your dogs doing #Barkour this week. We can’t wait to see what fun you make while staying safely inside your social distancing bubble.
Article by Samantha Jackson, Howlictic Help - Dog training
View her website here