Fun things to do with your dog during lockdown
Hey there! My name is Sam and I spend my days training my exuberant Border Collie ‘Buddy.’ But, how exactly do I keep things entertaining and fun with my dog during lockdown? I have been asked this a few times and so I thought I would share some of our fun lockdown games. Some of the games we play involve a bit of fitness, but Buddy just thinks they are super fun!
Two Paws on One Object
One simple thing you can do at home is a game of two paws on an object. I use yoga blocks which you can buy online, but you can start with a book, a step stool, something sturdy and flat that isn’t too tricky for them to get the idea. This is great for the brain, yet super hard for them so keep sessions really short – quality, not quantity! Once they do get it, you can get creative!
How do you do ‘two paws on an object’ I hear you ask?
- Start by placing the object in front of you and reward them for any interaction with the object. Throw a treat behind them to ‘reset’ them and they will come bounding back.
- Then make it a little harder, you want them to put a paw on. They WILL figure it out. Wait them out a bit. If they so much as brush the object with their paw, feed, feed, feed!
- Eventually you work up to waiting them out for two paws on. When they do, you throw a party! If they get a bit ‘sticky’ make sure you throw some food out to re-set them, so they don’t get frustrated.
- Once they have it, you can swap to another item on the re-set, add a cue, do side-stepping, rear targeting. You can take it on the road, paws on a bench, tree stump. Lots of cool stuff!
NOTE: You can absolutely lure them towards you to encourage them up onto it and feed them for being in position! Don’t be stingy with the food either!
Other Objects you can Use with your Dog during Lockdown
Cardboard boxes: Objective being they are eventually happy climbing in. Useful as a boundary or if say you wanted to wash their paws after a muddy walk!
Large plastic beakers: Objective being they eventually put their nose in. Great for muzzle training and head collar training.
Wobble cushions and paw pods: Increases the difficulty so extra strengthening. If you don’t have a wobble cushion you could use a normal cushion.
NOTE: Make sure you follow the same process, reward for interaction then slowly up the difficulty. AND, make sure you take it back a step on your next session to refresh their memory.
Another favourite is basically different ways to bowl food! We ditch the bowl already, and if you don’t, it’s a good way to get your dog interested in their kibble so you can use it as a training tool throughout the day rather than have set mealtimes. If you’ve never played catch with your kibble, or your dog isn’t very interested in playing with it, first of all, you want to get their attention.
- Bowl it on the floor towards them, away from them, animate it, make it exciting! Once they are interested in it and realise what’s going on, you can start to play fun games with it.
- Throw it away from you, then as they come running back to you throw it away in the other direction. This is a great way to learn some recall. The reward for them is you throw another piece as they orient back to you. As they come towards you say YES and then throw it out again.
- Throw it behind you, THROUGH your legs so they have to go under them and through you! Turn around and face them and as they run back, throw it under your legs again.
- Lure them around your side and spin yourself while luring around to go back out again. As they come back in do the same again. Just get creative.
- Practice catch. This might sound easy but actually, a lot of dogs find it super hard. Maybe try with big pieces of food before going onto kibble. If your dog finds it hard, hold it right above their nose before dropping it.
Doing quick exercises with your dog during lockdown should be fun for both the owner and your four legged friend. The main thing I have learnt with my dog is that I need to keep these sessions super short. He absolutely loves them and would keep going for as long as I let him! Anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes is fine. Have a rest for a bit, then do some more later. End on a high!
In just a few minutes you’ve strengthened your bond by having fun, your dog has had some great exercise, and you are on your way to getting your dog interested in their daily food which you can start to use for more training!
Read Sam’s blog here: Buddy the White Border Collie
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