It’s really hard to blog about our walks at the moment, when we aren’t actually going very far! So what exactly are we up to in lockdown that’s keeping us busy?
I have been asked 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! We attend an online fitness class specifically through ontheballdog.
One simple one 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 stepstool, something sturdy and flat that isn’t too tricky for them to get the idea. Once they do get it you can get creative!
HOW TO DO PAWS ON AN OBJECT
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. 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!
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!
This is great for the brain, shaping is super hard for them so keep sessions really short, quality not quantity! You might not even get paw on the first session. If you have nervous dog just going near the object is a win! No pressure.
Other objects you can shape your dog to use:
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.
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.
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.
1. Bowl it on the floor towards them, away from them, animate it, make it exiting. Once they are interested in it and realise what’s going on, you can start to play fun games with it.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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 mins is fine. Have a rest for a bit, and do some more later.
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 thier daily food which you can start to use for more training!
I’ll post another blog later in the week with some other cool and easy ideas you can do from home. If you have anything you enjoy doing at home share it below!