Want to get more out of your next walk? Try this routine while out and about to burn more calories and improve your dog’s training skill. Make sure to grab some high-powered treats before you head out the door!
For 2 minutes each:
- Walk at a normal pace, and say ‘yes!’ and treat every time your dog looks in your direction. Be generous and reward even the half look backs you get from time to time as they’re learning to check in!
- Sprint 10 steps, and abruptly stop and ask your dog to sit and reward him/her with a treat when they do. Repeat. Once your dog gets the hang of this, randomly reinforce with the treat. Sometimes moving again can be just as rewarding!
- Resume a normal pace, and allow your dog to sniff around and get distracted. When s/he does, excitedly call your dog’s name and “come,” and jog in the other direction. When your dog catches up to you, reward her/him. Repeat.
- Repeat the sprint and sit games listed above, but this time, try it with a down.
- Alternate between jogging 20 high knees, and 20 butt kicks as you keep reinforcing all of the check-ins that your dog offers up.
- Find a tree, rest your back against it with your feet about a foot in front of you. Move down into a squat position, to do a tree sit (make sure your knees are over your ankles, and not your toes!). Ask your dog to do a few of your favorite tricks, sit and down, or practice ‘watch me.’ Hold for 60 seconds.
- Do 10 walking lunges (5 on each side) while you work on keeping your dog next to you at this slower pace. Use that lure if you need to, and stop moving if your dog hits the end of the leash. Reward him/her occasionally for staying with you!
- Then warm up your dog and practice their stay. Reinforce them as often as needed in order for him/her be successful. Can s/he stay while you do 20 calf raises? 10 jump squats? 30 jumping jacks?
- Sprint back to the tree for one more time through the tree sit, lunges, and stay practice.
Incorporating some of these tools will not only make walks more exciting for your dog, but they’ll improve his/her focus on you outdoors while you get your heart rate up. It’s a win-win. Enjoy!