For a start, throwing a ball or Frisbee is excellent exercise.
In addition the best ‘ball’ I have seen is a Kong Ball. This is shaped like a rounded, three-level pyramid that looks like the Michelin man, minus his arms and legs. It bounces unpredictably and that’s part of the fun. This adds to the fun of the game.
It is made of hard rubber and withstands chewing but also has a hole through the centre in which you can place peanut butter or vegemite. This is useful when leaving your dog alone.
Be sure to introduce the Brain work when you exercise your dog. You should get your dog to ‘Stay’ before it fetches the ball and should aim to get it to fetch the ball to you.
Super SNAPO’s teach their dog Fly Ball, or agility work or compete their dogs in Lure Coursing. (Live animals are not used in this sport). Ring me for more details or contact your local obedience club.
Brain work means that you teach your dog new things constantly to give it mental challenges. This helps to relieve boredom.
Some ideas to try:-
- Walking over a see-saw – use a wide plank first, close to the ground then narrow it down and make it higher as your dog learns
- Jumping hurdles (doweling between pine uprights) and progressing to your dog jumping over the swings in a play set (if you have one).
- Obtain some old tyres, fix them together so they form a tunnel and get your dog to climb through the tunnel and/or jump over the tunnel. Good for kids too!
- Walking a balance beam – wide plank first then narrow down
- The “Bed” command – train your dog to go to a ‘bed’ in its den, on your patio or elsewhere, by placing it in a Sit/Stay position next to the bed. Now throw a food reward onto the bed and, using its collar and saying “BED” move it onto the bed. Once on the bed, command your dog to lie “DOWN”. Praise any success.
As your dog learns, progress by moving away from the bed and them by giving the food reward only intermittently (the best rewards are intermittent).
- The Seek command – train your dog to ‘seek’ titbits of food. Initially, place the food about one metre in front of the dog and encourage it to eat the food using the word “Seek”. When doing this, drag the food along the ground to leave a ‘scent trail’ of food for your dog to follow with its nose. Progress with the food getting further and further away from your dog and eventually, the food hidden out of sight, such as under a rock or brick, in a garden bed and so on. The next step is to hide titbits of food around the garden in various areas that it must locate.
This is self explanatory, but very important – a lot of dog owners neglect it. At the end of the A’s and B’s sit with your dog in the garden, cuddle it and whisper ‘sweet nothings’ into its ear. Talk about the state of the Aussie dollar or the effect of Asian industrialization on the Australian Current Account Deficit or something else of Canine Cerebral Importance.
The ABC’s technique gives your dog a lifestyle that is properly balanced. Does your dog have a problem with its lifestyle when you are not home?
If so, your dog will enjoy my No Bored Dogs Routine