Games to improve your dog walk experience are great because they’ll make you more likely to actually get out there and walk your pooch. Walking your dog is a great way for both of you to get the exercise you need. It’s also a nice bonding experience. However, it can also be difficult at times. When your dog spots something far more interesting than you are, or when you come across something that could be potentially harmful, it pays to know some tricks that can keep you both safe. With these tools, walking your dog can be an even better experience than it already is.
Tricks and Games to Improve Your Dog Walk Experience
These tricks or games – whichever you want to call them – are excellent for improving your walking experience. They afford you more control over any situation, which keeps both of you safer, and they add an extra layer of bonding to the time you and your pooch spend out and about.
“Change” is a command used for agility training. This command tells your dog to move from one side of you to the other without breaking stride. The “Change” mechanic is a circular one. Meaning that when you give the command, your dog will turn in a circle, focusing his attention on you, as he changes from one side of you to the other. This is particularly useful when you come across potential dangers like construction to one side of you or another dog.
Although “Catch” is a classic backyard, off-leash game, you can employ it to make walking your dog an easier experience. Keep an object on hand that your dog loves to fetch, but that doesn’t have a lot of bounce to it. A Nyla Bone or other chew toy could be a good choice. When your dog starts becoming a bit too adventurous, pause for a short game of short-field fetch. This reminds your pooch that you are a super fun walking buddy and that staying close to you is probably the better alternative.
“Find It” is an excellent game that helps distract your dog from potential triggers. For example, if your dog is too interested in comfort in other dogs while you’re walking, or if he gets nervous around certain stimuli, “Find It” can distract him before things get hairy. Simply toss your treat nearby on the ground and give the “Find It” command. One caveat to this is that it’s not the best trick if your dog is a notorious scarfer. If he scoops up just about any interesting thing he comes across on the ground, this command can actually reinforce the negative habit.
Mix it Up
Mix up your walks to add interest and mental stimulation for your buddy. Rather than walking at one speed and sitting at spots like street corners, make a game of walking your dog. Mix up the speeds, using an upbeat voice for going faster and a more calm, soothing voice for slow speeds. Intersperse the “Sit” command between all of that. Frequently reward your dog with treats for following your commands and keeping up with you.
This serves double duty while walking your dog. One of the best parts of the walking experience for your dog is exploring everything. Rather than being dragged from tree to hydrant to impressive looking piece of debris, teach your dog the “Go Touch” command. This command requires the use of hand signals because you “target” an object while giving the “Go Touch” command.
Once your dog learns this, it becomes one his favorite commands, because it’s doubly rewarding. He gets a double reward when you tell him to “Go Touch” a tree or a fire hydrant or whatever because he gets a treat when he successfully touches the target, AND he gets to explore something new.
Walking Your Dog – A More Exciting Trip for Your Pooch
Walking your dog is already a fun experience for both you and your pooch, but why not make it even more fun? With these five tricks and games, you can make walking your dog both physically and mentally stimulating.