Giving your dog a «job» while walking can be beneficial in several ways. Variety and challenges stimulate your dog mentally, which keeps it happy and calm at home. In addition, these tasks can strengthen your dog’s body, prevent injuries and strengthen the bond between the two of you.
Use nature as an obstacle course!
No matter if you live in the city or the countryside, your surroundings provide many possibilities for training if you are creative.
You can for example:
- Let your dog balance on trees or the edge of a stone wall
- Jump up on a stone, do a trick, then jump down
- Jump from one object to another. This challenges your dog’s coordination and body control!
- A lot of branches on the ground? Let your dog walk slowly over them. Your dog will lift its legs higher than usual, activating other muscle groups!
- Back up on uneven surfaces or a little hill
Use your imagination!
Walking or running with resistance is a highly effective way of working out. 15 minutes of pulling can make your dog more tired than an hour-long run! The easiest way of doing this is having the dog pull you. It can also pull chains or a pulka.
Read more: How resistance training can benefit your dog
It is important to use a harness designed for pulling when doing resistance training.
Read more: How to choose the right harness for my dog?
A well fitted pulling harness will provide your dog with freedom of motion and distribute the load evenly. That will make training a good experience for your dog and lower the risk of injuries.
Carry a backpack
Carrying a backpack is excellent strength training for your dog! Having your dog carry some weight will strengthen the front part of its body, which again can help prevent injuries. The backpack makes it more challenging for your dog to navigate in between trees and over obstacles. That means your dog will use both its body and mind at the same time. It is important to increase the load and difficulty gradually.
At two years of age, your dog can start carrying a pack. Start with empty bag, then gradually increase the load and length of your walk. Most healthy dogs are able to carry up to 30-50 % of their own body weight, depending on their breed and fitness level.
The Amundsen Pack is an ergonomic and adjustable pack that sits steadily on the dog`s back. It has room for everything you need when hiking, and smart solutions to fulfill all needs for active dogs and owners.
Search for treats
Bring some treats or your dog’s meal outside and pour it over the ground. If you want it to be extra challenging, put the treats in different heights by placing them on rocks or under leaves. It will not take many minutes of nose work to tire your dog!
Daily obedience training
The key to a well-behaved dog is regular training in various environments. If you add some minutes of obedience training to your walks, you will probably have progress!
Skills you can practice:
- Walk nicely on a leash
- Sit, down, heel. Vary to challenge your dog’s understanding.
- Walk behind you