Playing with your dog on a walk – ideas, toys
Who said that walking a dog has to be boring? Many owners do not realize how important all kinds of activities are during walks. A dog needs both physical and mental activities. See how to meet these needs, how to diversify hikes with your dog, what ideas we have for fun and how important it is.
And the head works!
Have you ever laid in bed and struggled with a million thoughts? Then you can’t fall asleep despite being extremely tired? This is how dogs feel when they don’t have mental activities. Every dog, regardless of breed, age and character, needs appropriate sensory stimulation. Of course, for some dogs just a few minutes of play is enough, while others will need more. That’s why appropriate play with your dog, both at home and on a walk, is so important. Even an hour of running will not tire the dog as much as sniffing, thinking and all kinds of mental dog games.
It is best to alternate all activities proportionally. Take into account: the dog’s natural needs, i.e. physiological needs, free sniffing and tracking, adequate exercise, mental fatigue of the dog and calming down the dog during a walk. However, in this article we will deal with the issue of walking. See how to easily turn a walk with your dog into an effectively spent time. Because there is nothing worse than boredom while walking. Check out proven ways to have fun with your dog on a walk.
Equipment is the basis
Before you go for a walk, let’s start with preparation. There are a few basic things you should take with you when you go out together. To play with your dog outside, you will need:
- long training rope
- waist bag/pouch
- favorite toy, e.g. a tug
- a portable bowl and water – especially on warmer days
- backpack for things
- optional: second person
Once you have everything ready, it’s time to put on comfortable shoes and you are ready for an active walk with your dog. Remember to have your hands free and put everything in your backpack. Thanks to this, you will have full control over your dog and freedom. It is much more convenient and practical.
Before we discuss activities with a dog on a walk, you need to remember a few rules. Firstly always, always watch your dog. He will certainly show you when he has had enough, when he needs rest or is bored. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the basic signals sent by the dog. The most common ones include: yawning, turning the head, licking one’s lips, refusing to cooperate, and walking away. Nothing by force. A walk with games should be pleasant for both you and the dog. Communication with your dog is the key to success. Believe me, properly introduced mental training will make your dog encourage you to do it.
Another thing is rest and re-stimulation. Too much activity with your dog may lead to fixation, excessive excitement and emotional problems. You need to find the right balance between all activities by observing your dog. It’s great to have time to rest. All you have to do is sit on a bench every few meters and relax. You will signal to your dog that a walk is not only a race, but also a time to relax. Plan more time for a walk to introduce this element permanently.
A forest of tasty treats
The first game will be looking for treats and creating a natural olfactory mat. Use your surroundings for this. Trees, bushes, pebbles, leaves, tall grass, stumps and everything else you can think of. Then ask your dog to sit and wait. Sprinkle treats on the selected object, give the “search” command and observe how passionately his nose moves and how he engages all his senses and body. This is a great way to play with dogs in the forest, meadow or yard. You are only limited by your imagination. Smelling games are a great way to take an active walk with your dog. This is great fun for your dog, which will make him more willing to go for walks and will be more calm when he returns home.
Hide and Seek
Here you will need a second person who will distract the dog and a long rope. You, however, quickly hide behind a tree, wall or bush. Call your dog and wait for him to find you. If the dog encounters problems, the companion can gently guide him. When the dog finds you, he will be happy, gain self-confidence and at the same time train his nose and gray matter. It can be great fun for the whole family during walks together.
Another version of this game is to look for your dog’s favorite toy. Distract his attention or take advantage of the moment when he is sniffing something. For example, throw a shredder into the leaves, hide it behind a tree or in the bushes. Then encourage your dog to search with a command “search” (or another one of your choice). Just like when looking for people, you can also direct the dog towards the toy with your body or even point it with your finger. It is important that the dog does not get discouraged and bored quickly. You can gradually increase the difficulty level of the games.
There are many different things to do while walking your dog. It is worth practicing even these well-known commands to consolidate them, increase your bond and properly tire the dog. You can practice calling your dog at any time: when he moves away from you, when he sniffs, every few steps. It is important that when he comes running, he always receives a reward in the form of a treat, play or caress. Training dog tricks that he already knows or completely new ones is also a great idea for playing with your dog on a walk. Thanks to this, your recall will become much better, and it will also tire your dog’s head.
If you often follow a fixed walking route, it is worth changing it from time to time. The multitude of new smells, people, dogs and sounds will absorb your dog and make him even tired. He will be able to passionately explore new surroundings and maybe even meet new dog friends. Here, remember to observe the dog. If you notice that at some point he has too many stimuli, withdraws, or does not feel confident – stop, play with him or simply turn back. You can try again after some time or find a completely new place. Walking with your dog doesn’t have to be boring!
Avoiding trees, posts, bushes and even benches is another way to diversify a walk with your dog. Don’t be afraid to experiment and use everything around you. It can be a lot of fun for you, and the dog will certainly be grateful for the attention and time devoted to it. Together you can practice passing various objects and focusing attention on you. This exercise may be useful in various everyday situations, e.g. passing another dog, child, or car.
You already have a stock of ready-made games for walks, now it’s time to implement them. Remember – watch your dog and play together. Spending time with your dog in this way will certainly bring results. The dog will become more emotionally stable, calm, learn to control its emotions and, above all, satisfy its needs and instincts. Playing with your dog should become part of your daily ritual. A long walk with games, communication with the dog, free sniffing, olfactory games and, above all, fun together and you have a recipe for a great walk. Good luck!