Outdoor Activities for Dogs
Author: Alina Andreeva
Alina Andreeva is a writer, editor, and pet-lover. She has published over 20 articles on how to care for pets properly. Alina has been writing articles for 3 years, so she has considerable experience in this niche. Her natural curiosity helps her to expand her knowledge and learn new pet care life hacks, which will make your life much easier.View all 23 articles Learn about our editorial process
Updated on: 17/04/2020
Outdoor activities are necessary for meeting the natural needs of a pet, as well as satisfying its biology. Everyone usually remembers the first point, but often forgets the second. Let’s try to figure out why a biological activity is so important for dogs.
Any living creature must move. A dog is a social creature that you can easily train. If an owner does not find anything to do for his/her four-legged friend, then a pet finds what to do on its own. And here a lot depends on the breed, gender, and age of a pet. Outdoor activities increase the motor activity of dogs and improve obedience.
How different breeds behave if they lack activity
Owners should play with their dogs outside. If working breeds – e.g. shepherd dogs, Rottweilers, Dobermans – lack outdoor activity, they begin to guard the owner on their own initiative and bark at people and other dogs. Hunting breeds – e.g. Labradors, dachshunds, setters – behave in another way. If pets lack outdoor games, they begin to hunt birds, cats and pick up food waste.
If you do not play with decorative breeds – e.g. poodles, Yorkshire terriers, lapdogs, they begin to bark at everyone, run away and pick up leftover food from the ground.
Companion dog breeds include Staffordshire and bull terriers. Without active walks and good training, they begin to terrorize all pets. These dogs need outdoor activity.
A pet should not just move when you take it for a walk, but should also obey you and follow your commands. You can achieve this through outdoor games.
How to play with a dog outside
If you have a puppy, then, first of all, teach it “come,” “sit,” “down,” “stand,” “fetch” and “heel” commands. Also, repeat the basic commands with an adult dog. Now, let’s talk about outdoor games. How can you play with your pet outside?
It is very convenient to teach your pet the “come” command if you go for a walk with your family. In turn, call the dog to one, then to another owner. Such games discipline both pets and children, and a dog gets used to obeying a child.
You can practice a “hide and seek” game with a pet that is very fond of its owner. As soon as your dog is distracted, hide behind a tree or bush. The longer the dog searches for the owner, the more closely it will follow you in the future.
You can practice the “heel” command in various conditions. Do stops and turns. A pet should be guided specifically by its owner – by changing its pace and direction of movement and not by jerking a leash.
Communicate with your dog. You can come up with your own commands. For example, if a pet on a leash goes behind a tree – command “back” and pull the leash. The dog must return in the opposite direction, around the tree. Usually, this is not an issue, even if the dog turned several times around the tree! The dog quickly understands and focuses on untangling the leash. You can make up outdoor games by yourself, based on the situations that you most often encounter.
You will be surprised how much fun even the simplest games can bring to your dog. Dogs love to move actively. They sincerely have fun chasing a tennis ball, a Frisbee, a stick or a soft toy, especially if the “victim” squeaks.
If you use a ball as a toy, you need to carefully choose its size. Make sure the ball is small enough for the dog to grasp, but not too small because your dog can swallow it. Also, limit the number of toys to a few favorites. If there are too many toys, this confuses a dog – it cannot understand what is a toy and what is not.
Come up with New Games
You can come up with games in which your dog would have to solve a problem. For example, put a treat inside a cardboard box and let the dog find it. First, use a box from which it can easily get a treat, and if your dog successfully solves this problem, use a box that is more complex. After this, you will have to make some effort to remove what is left of it.
Dogs like games with hidden things. Hide a treat in another room, but make it visible to your dog. Then let it into the room. Praise and reward your pet when it finds a treat. You can play both at home and outside.
If you are not afraid to look silly, you can play the following game. Get on all fours as close to your dog as possible. Bend your elbows, tilt your head and try to bark. Your dog will tilt its head and look at you, puzzled. Bark again and maybe it will answer you the same. Take a few steps back, turn around and bark again. Repeat. Your dog will understand the game and enjoy it.
Remember that not only you can be a participant in your dog’s games. A well-socialized dog will enjoy playing with other dogs. Pets can fight, frolic, run and explore new spaces.
Before you start playing with your furry friend, remember these useful tips.
- If you have to leave your puppy or dog alone for a while, before you leave, take it for a walk or play with it to give it an opportunity to burn off its excess energy.
- Training can also be a game. You can teach a dog to approach you at your call. Dogs learn easily because they take it as a game.
- Do not use personal or household items as toys. Dogs don’t differentiate between old sneakers and the new pair of shoes you bought last week.
- Do not underestimate games. They allow your dog to burn off its excess energy and soothe nerves. As a result, you get a happy and cheerful dog.
- Start training with ten minutes and increase daily to 30 minutes. Train your pet several times a week. Do not forget that there are dog breeds that are not able to actively move immediately after eating (for example, Dobermans). Just like a man, a dog can become thirsty. Its body reacts to dehydration in the same way as yours (bulldogs and boxers cope with this problem worst of all). Therefore, always carry a bottle of water with you so that the dog does not drink from unverified sources.
Sports for dogs
Doing sports with a dog is a great opportunity to get to know your pet better, establish contact with it and improve both its physical condition and your own. Today, there are many sports for dogs. We will not describe all the varieties but dwell on the most popular ones.
All dog owners know what Frisbee is – even if they have never played this game with their pet: you throw a disk (plate) into the air, and your dog catches it in a jump. Frisbee roll is a variation of this sport (or game — at least from the point of view of a dog) in which you should throw a disk so that it rolls on the ground. The task of a dog is not to jump but to catch the disk. To do this, it has to develop significant speed sometimes – especially if a disk rolls downhill.
The main principle of the game is that the disk must be in the dog’s teeth before it touches the ground. The pet quickly understands this rule and chases the disk with pleasure. This kind of Frisbee is suitable for those dogs who like running rather than jumping, as well as older dogs and puppies who find jumping difficult.
Skijoring is a winter sport: a special harness is put on a dog, and it carries a person who is skiing. As an urban variety of skijoring, you can teach your pet to sled your baby. For a large dog, this is not a burden, but an easy warm-up. The summer analog of skijoring is bike-joring: the principle is the same, only a bicycle instead of skis. After such a walk, even the most hyperactive pet will sleep like a baby.
If you have two dogs – or you have a good friend, a dog breeder who you meet on walks – your pets can arrange dog-pulling competitions, without your help, just grabbing together the same stick. Dog pulling is a classic tug of war, only in dog performance. The main thing is that the competition does not suddenly turn into a fight.
Games are especially important if your pet spends a lot of time alone. Sometimes a pet does not tolerate separation from its owner, and this translates into unhappy and destructive behavior. In this case, pay more attention to your dog to compensate for your absence.
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