Walking your dog offers countless physical health benefits, but did you know that it can be mentally stimulating, too?
Your pooch enjoys sniffing and exploring as you walk, but how about teaching them some dog tricks along the way?
Read on to learn about some fun dog games to play as you walk. These games are designed to boost your smart dog’s brain function to a whole new level.
Stop and Go
How well does your dog obey?
Whether you just adopted a new pooch or you’re sharpening the gray matter of your old dog’s brilliant brain, obedience exercises are a great way to teach your dog how to follow directions. That said, an obedience routine doesn’t have to be all work and no play. In fact, if you make some walks into a game of “stop and go,” your dog will develop a positive association with obedience routines.
As you walk, simply halt, say the word “stop,” and use your leash to get your dog to stop as well. If your dog stops willingly, give them verbal praise. Then, give the “go” command and start moving.
Your dog will pick up on this game quickly. You can also use a method like clicker training to teach these simple commands.
You don’t have to run at break-neck speed to help your furry friend get all their energy out. Instead, find a dog-friendly park where you can play obstacle course.
Set the course up yourself, or just use your environment to play the game. For instance:
- Walk your dog up and down hills
- Get the pup to climb onto a picnic bench
- Or wade with him into a small lake
These doggie tricks will help your canine practice quick thinking, and they will strengthen their reflexes as well.
Follow the Leader
Who’s the alpha in your dog’s pack?
Understanding a dog’s pack mentality is key to stimulating their mind. Ideally, your dog sees you as the leader of the pack. So why not reinforce this with a game of “follow the leader?”
While walking with your dog, switch direction whenever you can. The trick is to keep your dog from anticipating your steps.
For example, if you’re used to walking on a straight path down the block, find a shortcut or a parking lot to turn toward for a while. In time, your dog will learn how to follow your cues, and you’ll have cemented yourself as the leader he adores.
Do you pack treats for your dog walks?
This fun game will have you buying yummy treats to bring on every jog.
A doggie scavenger hunt will stimulate your dog’s focus and motivation. As you walk, just drop a treat somewhere in your path. Then, cheer your dog on as they find each treasure.
Whenever possible, hide the treat somewhere close but out of plain view. This way, your dog is forced to use their sharp mind and sense of smell to find their prize.
Beyond Dog Games
Even if you’re not interested in playing dog games on every walk, they can still be an opportunity for mental stimulation. Simply varying your routes will peak your dog’s interest and keep his focus.
Do you want more tips on caring for and training your dog? Reach out to us today, or browse our site for more resources.
Also, if you’re ready to adopt a new pooch, we at Petland are more than happy to connect you with the right dog to complete your family. Contact us today for all your doggie needs.