Play with your dog. It’s not just a popular book by Pat Miller, Play With Your Dog; it’s a really good idea. Playing with your dog has many benefits for both you and Fido. In just a few minutes or an hour, you and your pooch can play to your hearts’ content.
Dogs can be just as bored sitting around the yard doing nothing as they can sitting around the house doing nothing. The truth is they can get in much more trouble outside doing nothing than inside. If they are unsupervised outside, a whole new set of issues can occur at alarming speeds. But this isn’t the blog about all the trouble your dog and even worse your puppy, can get into in an unsupervised yard. Those are the things we recommend NOT to do. So as long as you’re out there with them, let’s have some fun.
Let’s talk about what you can do:
- This one is kind of a no brainer. If you have a dog that has a love for the round throwable item, by all means please throw. Even if your dog has a career fetch every morning at the park, you can have some short sessions anytime you bring the dogs out for bathroom breaks, (if that’s where they do that kind of thing). Grab a ball, frisbee, KONG on a rope or any object your dog loves to fetch. BTW, if you can’t throw there are many options out there to help the object go further than ever.
- Many dogs like to play a soccer type game and the two of you can have a blast running throughout the yard playing kicking games with a soft soccer type ball or Jolly ball or any thing that rolls and your dog likes. You can play so your dog is the goalie, you can play kicking keep away, (make sure Fido gets it often enough to keep him interested), or you can make up your own game depending on what kind of play your dog likes. Just take a soccer ball outside and start kicking, see what your dog does and punt, so to speak.
- You can buy or make agility equipment for your dog just to play on. Whether your Fido is a champion agility dog or never jumped through a hoop in his life, with a few buckets, some PVC piping, a few orange cones, a hula hoop and a little imagination your empty yard can be an agility course.
Use your yard space and time for training sessions galore. it’s a perfect space to practice your intermediate training before you go out into the real world for distraction work. You have an enclosed area where you can control the distractions most of the time by being aware of some basics. Depending on your fence, you can get very creative with your distraction training.
- If your yard is in a high traffic area with cars and humans passing by your fence, spend time out there early in the morning or keep an eye out to determine your low traffic times of the day.
- If you practice in the cold, there are less neighbors. As your dog gets better at his/her training you can spend more time outside training in higher human traffic times.
- Bicycles, skateboards, scooters, wagons, just to mention a few, will be passing by some backyards and you can take your more advanced puppy out at those times for some advanced distraction work.
Remember, if you don’t have a fence you can work with your dog on a long line, as long as you have a safe area on your property to play. Be careful of the faster games and full out running with the long line. Sometimes it’s safer to play slower games to be able to control the leash.
Whether you have 20 acres or a 20-foot square of space, if you’re not actively engaging your dog, you can have a sedate, bored dog in no time. Get outside and Play With Your Pooch.