Outdoor games for the dog
If your own dogs are vigorous nature boys or lively bundles of activity, then movement and action is the top priority !
If then still the sun laughs, dog and master can hardly remain a minute in the apartment. But also on other days there is mostly no reason for the dog to stay the whole day in the house and if there is also never bad weather for master, but only unsuitable clothes, the outdoor games are just right !
Retriever Dog Game
What trained hunting, rummaging, rescue or search dogs do ‘professionally’, the own house dog can also train as a hobby. The point is to find hidden or lost things, e.g. living creatures to track down !
In bad weather, the game can even be played in your own four walls.
To do this, the dog should first be made to sit and then shown a treat. When he can be safely put down, you can indicate that he should wait in his place. If this does not work yet, another person can hold him, or he waits behind the garden fence, from where he can see everything.
Now you walk a few steps and put the treat on the ground. Then you go back to the dog and ask him to look for the treat with ‘search’ or a similar command word. When he has found it, he will eat it, and you can additionally praise him. In this way, the dog learns to associate the search for the treat with the command word ‘search’ (or another selected word).
In the next few days, the distance of the treat from the dog should be increased before he is allowed to start searching.
Once he now understands the command word, which can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days depending on the dog, the difficulty level is increased. This is done by hiding the treat a bit, for example in the grass, in a bush, behind a tree trunk or in the apartment under or behind a piece of furniture.
Now you ask him again with ‘Search’ to find the treat and supervise this. If the dog is successful, he is praised again and the level of difficulty is gradually increased.
This is done by using elaborate hiding places and longer distances outdoors or in adjoining rooms within the home. To do this, the dog should use his nose by letting him sniff the hand where the treat has been and then asking him to search.
Once the dog has internalized the principles of this game, it opens up a whole world of possibilities for play.
The majority of dogs find the game so great that they even willingly and obediently put up with the mostly annoying lying down in advance, even if it has hardly worked on other occasions so far !
Video of the retriever game and swimming with the dog:
Swimming with the dog
For this ‘game’ you only need swimming clothes, and it promotes the cardiovascular system, fitness, courage and self-confidence, serves as a preventive health care and toughening.
Going swimming together with your dog is one of the most beautiful experiences there is. Unfortunately, this pleasure is often limited by prohibitions on beaches or lakes, so you have to look for secluded swimming spots or go swimming with the dog in the early morning or evening hours, when other bathers do not feel disturbed.
The dog must be accustomed slowly and calmly to the water, because he also feels fear at the beginning. Also, not every dog is born to be a water rat !
Some dogs are true swimmers and water rats, whereby I have often made the experience with terriers. Others have to be introduced to the water slowly, and rough methods like pulling him into the water or even throwing him in will thoroughly spoil the fun of the cool water for every beginner.
Therefore, the dog should first wade around in the shallow water and perhaps be able to play. Then you can throw sticks, plastic toys or even stones into the shallow water, which the dog can still get out without much effort. The next time, you throw things a little further into the water.
At the first swimming attempts, the dog will probably not be very skillful, but will snort violently and beat wildly with his paws until he has learned. Only after the dog has found out that it is possible to move around in the water and that he will not sink, you can go swimming with him.
To do this, you can transport him a little further from the shallow shore into the open water in your arms and swim the way back with him or wade alongside him in the shallower water. When transporting in the arms, some dogs can also lash out, so a swimsuit can help prevent scrapes or minor injury.
In any case, don’t overwhelm the dog right away by swimming too far away from him, lest he panic or show abandonment anxiety. The latter, however, is sometimes quite helpful if you wade slowly into the water and call out to the dog to follow. Some will even voluntarily follow their masters into the water for this very reason.
Basically, regular increased training can push the dog’s limits and abilities here, just as it can with bicycling or jogging.
In any case, the terrier lady Chelsea sought a swim in the nearby sea at every opportunity, even when it was still so fresh.
Dog paddling pool
If there are no bathing facilities available in a body of water or at the sea, dog paddling pools are also suitable for cooling off on hot days. For this purpose, a children’s paddling pool made of hard plastic can be used – but not inflatable plastic pools, as these will not withstand the dog’s claws for long. However, in specialized stores there are also paddling pools made especially for dogs.
In any case, a real water rat is happy on hot days to quickly cool off in the pool, then roll around in the grass and dry off in the shade and doze off until the game can start all over again.
Hiking with the dog backpack
With a well-fitting dog backpack or pannier can strengthen the endurance, leadership, self-confidence, physical balance and bond of the dog to the master.
Already a matter of course is the purchase of a pannier for the dog, if you yourself like to go on longer hikes with a backpack. Especially in hot weather, it is an indispensable tool to always have the water supply for dog. In addition, food rations and other small items can be transported by the dog.
From valuable or important items, it’s advice against, because some panniers can be torn open by edged rocks or rough branches or are not necessarily waterproof.
However, dogs love to have a job and take some work off their human’s hands. In fact, many dogs take special pride in carrying a dog backpack, which they see as a badge of honor.
In addition to the practical benefits that the dog backpack has on tours, it also strengthens the dog’s ability to concentrate and navigate more challenging terrain, narrow paths, walkways or bridges.
Another essential feature of a loaded pannier for the dog is that overactive or specimens blessed with a lot of energy tire earlier, so it does not always require very long walks to achieve this.
To do this, the dog should be slowly accustomed to the weight in the panniers. At the beginning it should be about 5% of its own weight, which can be slowly increased per walk up to a maximum of 15%. It is important that the weight distribution in the panniers is about even, so that they are balanced and do not slip easily to one side. As mentioned earlier, delicate, fragile, important or expensive things have no place in them.
To begin with, you should choose a route that is well known and keep the dog on a long leash. On hot days, you should not overload the dog and watch out for the first signs of heat stroke.
Therefore, breaks are always important, both for the dog and master. Water should be offered to the dog from the supply he ideally carries himself.
To find out whether your own dog is a brave protector or a little coward who prefers to be carried in your arms, a night walk is a good idea. Also, on particularly hot days, it makes sense to switch to a walk when the air is fresh at night and in the dark without sunlight.
In any case, a night hike allows you to test the dogs’ reactions up close when there is rustling in the bushes and you can get a little spooky yourself in the dark.
The safest way to do this is not to do it alone, but together with other dog owners.
Night walks promote the bond between dog and owner and are a lot of fun for everyone. Of course, a good flashlight is absolutely necessary and reflective or even luminous and flashing collars or dog harnesses can not hurt. If busy paths or roads must be crossed or walked in the dark, this is even highly recommended.
Adventure hikes for dog and master are possible as cross-country marches, through forests or canyons or even in the mountains.
With the cross-country march it can go thereby also already times on stones or wooden trunks over a small brook or in the forest over or under fallen tree trunks.
There is also a lot for the dog to discover and sniff, from mouse holes to hedgehogs, snakes or fallen tree fruits.
In between, a little round of jogging or playing hide-and-seek can be inserted every now and then and maybe the little play ball is also in the bag.
Alpine, mountain or canyon hikes can also be suitable for dogs, as long as you know where the difficult spots are for our four-legged friends where they need some help.
For dogs, wild digging of deep holes in the ground and looking for mice and moles, is one of the most popular games, which is wonderful to kill time.
Unfortunately, the game is less suitable for the apartment or the well-kept garden. But a lonely sandy beach is the ideal place to treat the dog to this great fun. Terrier breeds, which are ‘voles’ or roughnecks, get their money’s worth and for this game no effort is necessary – except to know a suitable sandy beach !
If there is no sandy beach nearby, you can also use a sandbox in the garden. The dog will quickly understand that he can dig there as he pleases, while it is forbidden on the lawn or in the rose bed.
In some twons there are obstacle courses with fenced free running areas especially for the dog. Training on these courses promotes the dog’s self-confidence, leadership, courage and concentration in addition to mental vigor and is great fun.
If you have a suitable garden, you can also make and build your own obstacles with materials from the hardware store and train the dog on them.
The dog should practice one obstacle after another and should not do this under duress. Therefore, great empathy is needed, because force here leads nowhere.
Jogging with the dog
Just as with cycling, a gradual build-up training is required here at first. At the beginning, the route should not be longer than two kilometers (1.2 miles), alternating between jogging and walking.
Soft natural surfaces are recommended for this, such as those found on exercise trails.
It is important to find a running pace that is suitable for both dog and master. After finding this out, a leash or possibly even extendable and retractable running leash can be attached to the belt or chest strap so that you have your arms free.
Jogging with the dog is not the same as walking the dog, but is intended to promote fitness, endurance and the joy of running together.
Therefore, the dog should do its business and sniffing before, after, or at routinely designated spots. During the run, the dog should be disciplined to walk at heel on the left side.
When dogs play with balls they can’t pick up in their mouths, a lively game of soccer often develops. They play the ball forward with their body, chest and paws while running after it.
Therefore, a large ball should be used and if there are tentative biting attempts, this should be stopped with a shout.
In this way, the four-legged friend becomes an enthusiastic soccer player. Especially dogs of small breeds are masters in driving the ball in front of them.
For a special, in-depth article on how to enjoy outdoor cycling with your dog, see Cycling with the dog.