Liven up your walk with these training games
We've got some tips for making walk time more fun, more interesting and more productive. Learn how to play 'find it' and 'get it,' and use these games to help your dog stay more engaged while you're out and about.
Training your dog doesn't have to happen in scheduled sessions or training classes. Adding training games into your regular activities - walks in the park, hanging out in the garden, or even when you're on the beach - can be a great way to develop the skills that are most useful to you and your four-legged friend in everyday life.
When playing training games, start off somewhere quiet and without distractions. You can gradually build up to noisier and busier locations. There are no endpoints to learning with either of the games, so you can continue practising and improving for a lifetime. The key is to keep things short, fun and easy to understand.
Below are two simple games you can play to get more out of your walks. Although these games are fun and easy to play, we do recommend enrolling in training classes to start with - find out more about picking a good trainer.
Keeping your dog engaged and interested in you while you're out, means that you can keep an eye on them, and makes walks more interactive and enjoyable too. Dropping treats at regular intervals, and making a game out of finding them, gives your dog a motive for keeping closer and knowing where you are at all times.
- Bring some of your dog's favourite treats with you, begin the game by walking together on the lead.
- As you walk, drop a treat on the floor - either ahead of you, behind you, or to the side. Drop it close enough that your dog can still reach it easily!
- As you drop the treat, signal to your dog by pointing in the direction of the dropped treat and saying 'find it'. Allow them to find and eat the treat.
- Repeat this at random intervals throughout the walk.
- Progress to playing with your dog off lead, and calling 'find it' when they're further away so they return near you to look for the dropped treat.
Get it and Come
Recall is a really important skill to practise and is super handy for off lead walking. This game is extra fun for your dog because they get the double bonus of two treats per cycle, one when you send them away from you and another for returning when called.
- Take another treat - one that will show up easily on the ground - and making sure that your dog is watching, throw it away from you saying 'get it!', or another distinctive phrase, so that the dog moves away.
- Throw the treat far enough that they need to take a few steps, but close enough that it's visible and easy for them to find. If your dog is on a lead ensure it is loose enough to allow them to freely move away to get the treat.
- As soon as the dog has eaten the treat, call your dog back to you with another treat held in your hand, using a recall word such as their name, and 'come'.
- Reward your dog for returning, and then repeat the process again, throwing the treat in a different direction each time.
- Gradually increase the distance that you throw the treat. You can do this off the lead when your dogs has really got the idea.
Use your walks to raise money for animals
Walking isn't just good for training and bonding with your dog, it's great for staying fit and healthy too. And this October, your walk could also help you raise money for animals across England and Wales!
We're expecting hundreds of dogs and their owners to join us on My Big Walkies, taking on the challenge of walking 10,000 steps every day - or as many as you and your dog can manage safely, depending on individual abilities - for a whole month. Join us today and we'll help you take on the challenge, with fun tips, advice, and fundraising support.