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How to exercise your dog without leaving your home

20/04/2020 - Welcome to Best Behaviour Dog Training

My top 10 tips for tiring out your dog without leaving your home.

  • Garden Agility
  • Al Fresco Eating
  • Hide n Seek
  • Create a sensory garden
  • Trick Training
  • Chewing
  • Online Training

Believe it or not, it IS possible to wear your dog out without taking him for a long long walk. Mental exercise is just as effective as physical exercise when it comes to helping your dog to relax. If you think about it for a moment – which is the most effective at switching your own brain off? 1 hour studying a new subject? or a long walk?

Dogs are mammals just like us and their brains and bodies work in similar ways to our own. They just can’t talk.

Here are some of my tried and tested methods of wearing a dog out. All of these activities are ones that I regularly use for my own pets – when you have 13 dogs of all different ages and abilities, a mass walk is not always everso practical!

Garden Agility
Agility training is something that uses a dog’s mind AND body. It’s also good exercise for owners. So while we’re on lockdown and the children are off school, why not have a rummage in the shed and see if you can build an obstacle course for your pet.

The fun is going to be in teaching your dog to tackle the obstacles and then in seeing how fast the two of you can complete the course. It may take several sessions!

For inspiration, Watch some clips of agility competitions online.

Try using: Upturned buckets with a broom handle to make jumps; Garden canes as weaving poles (pop an upturned flower pot on top of each one so you don’t get poked in the eye); Bedsheets and chairs to make a tunnel; A door mat as a place -mat.

Please be sure that all of your obstacles are safe and there is no risk of injury (or fright) to dogs or people.

Al Fresco Eating
It’s a simple activity but you’d be surprised at how much some dogs enjoy it. Instead of offering their meal in a bowl as usual, take it outside and scatter it all over the lawn. It will take your dog lots of time, lots of nosework and lots of brainpower to complete his or her meal.

If you want to introduce this activity gradually, take the bowl of food outside, leave most of the food in it but scatter some of around and about. Bit by bit you can increase the quantity of food you scatter and the area you spread it around.

Dogs living in the wild spend up to one third of their day looking for food. Our pets spend a few minutes waiting for you to fill their bowl. Al fresco eating is one way to nurture their natural instincts.

Hide n Seek
A natural progression from Al Fresco eating, is hide n seek. Once your dog has got the hang of searching a wider area for goodies you can start to hide treats or toys and send Fido to go find them.

This can happen indoors or outdoors – it’s up to you. Ask your dog to sit and stay while you hide treats and then release him or her to “go find”. You may want to use their crate or ask a housemate to hold onto their lead while you do the hiding. Feel free to join in with encouragement and/or a bit of pointing.

When your dog becomes an expert, sneak off and do the hiding while he or she is in another room.

Create a sensory garden
I’m writing this in lockdown so I quite understand how it might not be simple to get hold of garden supplies. But you’d be surprised at what is available. Some plant nurseries and DIY stores are offering delivery services and it’s great to be able to support local businesses at this time.

On the other hand, if you feel like being inventive, it’s amazing how a many changes you can make in the garden using things you already have.

I run a Facebook group called Sensory Gardens for Dogs. It’s all about bringing new experiences for dogs into your own back yard. Different textures, scents, tastes, sounds etc. Try putting things at nose height, making a platform for sitting/sleeping, adding a sand pit, a log pile. All of these things can make the garden more beautiful for you too.

Join the Facebook Group
Sensory gardens for dogs can be a great place for socialising too. Socialising is about introducing your dog or puppy to different experiences. Make the most of time in the garden to play CD’s of firework sounds, motorbikes or children playing or other unusual sounds to help desensitise your pet to them. An internet search will reveal all sorts of CD’s and/or phone apps to help you.

You might also like this article about gardens for dogs from Colchester based landscaper Holland Landscapes. Click here to read

Trick Training
Have you ever tested your dog’s intelligence? Wouldn’t you like to know how much he or she is capable of learning? Trick training is fantastic. You’ll be amazed by it and better still, your dog will be worn out by all the thinking involved.

This is another activity particularly well suited to children – let the kids and the dog entertain each other for a while!

Favourite tricks to teach my dogs include “roll over” “peek a boo” and ”high five” but there are lots more you can do.

In my online trick training tutorial I show you 17 different tricks to teach your dog. The training process is broken down into simple steps, each one clearly demonstrated by me and my canine crew. Easy for you to follow – easy for children to use too. AND there’s full support from me should you need it.

Click here to subscribe

Chewing a bone
It’s the most natural behaviour in the world for a dog. Chewing releases “happy” hormones. It helps your dog to relax, keeps him or her out of mischief and yes, tires them out.

If you’re not a fan of actual bones, try a stuffed Kong toy, a Licki mat, a deer’s antler or any of the many dog toys available online.

Please avoid anything made from rawhide though. They can cause some very nasty problems for your dog’s health.

Brush up on your obedience training
Now is as good a time as any to brush up on your dog’s obedience training. And guess what, you don’t need to go to dog training classes to improve things like recall, loose lead walking, impulse control, distance work and more.
If you want something to do straight away and intend on joining a physical class after lockdown got to here to book your special online / class combo. It’s very interactive and ensures you can have a physical class place once lockdown finishes.

Alternatively you may prefer to do just online training courses where you are able to choose a time and place to train, why not subscribe to Dogversity?

You’ll have access to over 150 video tutorials, personal support and the chance to “meet” and interact with other dog owners via our VIP Facebook group.

Click on the link to subscribe to Dogversity and start making the most of time at home with your dog

You may also enjoy these articles
Is your dog bored – advice on relieving boredom and preventing unwanted behaviours
Rainy day brain games for your dog – things to do when you can’t go outside

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