Caring for a dog goes beyond the concept of mere ownership. You should view your dog not only as a possession, but also as a companion, friend and beloved member of your family.
Because of this, it’s important to develop a bond with your dog through activities that will not only bring you closer together, but also ensure your animal stays strong, fit and active.
Keep reading for some great suggestions and tips on activities you can do with your dog that will maintain a healthy heart, build bonds, and instill discipline.
Activity 1: Follow the Leader
Utilize this popular training method for show dogs to teach discipline and get some great exercise. Start by laying out a basic obstacle course of simple markers. You can use cones or even sticks – just about any item for the two of you to weave through.
Starting at the beginning, jog around the obstacles while encouraging your dog to stay beside you. Snap your fingers or use rewards to keep its attention. If your pet veers off course, you can come back to that same point and try again until the two of you successfully make your way through together.
This game can also be done with a group of dogs and their owners, making it fun to try at an obedience class or on a busy day at the dog park. Be aware, though, that other dog owners or their pets may not be as cooperative as you’d prefer, so be selective in your invitations.
Activity 2: Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek teaches your dog to sit and stay, but also appeals to their love of the hunt. The dog is taught to stay in one place while the owner finds a hiding place in the house. Once hid, the owner calls the dog’s name until he or she is “found.”
This simple game can be modified by hiding a treat or toy instead of a person. First show the item to the dog, allowing him to smell it. Then instruct your pet to sit and stay while you hide the item. Once you’re ready, let him know that he can now seek out the treat. This version really lets your dog use their keen sense of smell and offers a desirable reward once found.
Activity 3: Get Jogging
A simple early morning jog is a great way to not only spend time with your dog, but also to enrich both of you through some healthy and active exercise. An early morning run will get you pumped for the day and take some of the energy out of your furry friend, making him less likely to chew at the furniture or bark incessantly.
If you are an avid runner, though, be careful not to force your pet to run a greater distance than he’s capable or to exert too much energy on a hot and humid day. Dogs are no different than people in needing to build up their strength and endurance before engaging in lengthy periods of exercise.
Dogs, like people, enjoy some variety in their play. So, you can also mix up your daily run with activities like Frisbee, fetch, or a fun visit to the off-leash park.
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