There are many reasons beyond our recent pandemic that might keep a person from exercising their dog outside their own property. The dog might not be fully vaccinated or leash trained. He/she could be aggressive toward other people or dogs or might not like chasing balls. A person may work late hours or be recovering from injury or illness. Or, heck, sometimes we are
just too lazy to grab a leash, put our shoes on, and head out the door!
This exercise of getting your dog to run around objects has many other benefits besides exercise. Your dog will have yet another way of getting rewarded for a recall and have something other to do than obsessively chase a ball. My favorite part is that he learns to keep paying attention to you even while his back is turned and he is running away from you. Wahooo!
If you decide to jump ahead to the videos, please come back and read these important progression steps.
- Set up something for your dog to run around: pole, chair, step stool, bag of dog food,
- Get a handful of food that your dog enjoys. In these videos, Hammer was enjoying FirstMate Salmon Formula Dog Treats: https://firstmate.com/product/wild-caught-dehydrated-salmon-formula/
- Put a treat in your hand and lure your dog around the object. Repeat several times.
In your next training sessions start adding distance:
- Take a step back AFTER your dog has gone around the object so that he has farther to run. Repeat several sessions of this before step 2.
- Take a step back BEFORE sending him to the object. This can be difficult for some dogs so do this in very small increments.
If your dog is getting confused just make it easier for him until he gets it.
Now you can start adding a second object for your dog to run around. Start with objects close together so you can reward your dog frequently. You will see in the video that I utilized a Nose Touch signal to help lure Hammer around without having a treat in my hand.
Now start placing the objects farther apart so your dog can get a good run between them. And, if you’d like, start adding more objects or even a jump!
Video Star: Hammer, a Labrador Retriever
Janine Allen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviour Specialist. Check out her website here.
Did you find these tips helpful for your and your FirstMate? Have any training skills you’re dying to learn? Let us know in the comments below!