Like humans, dogs have an endless capacity for learning. Your puppy loves to learn so don’t stop after you have successfully house-trained them. Keep that happy smile on your pooch by continuing their “education” way past the puppy days.
Here are three cool ways to have fun with your pooch.
• Get into Flyball
• Teach an old dog new tricks
• Dance it off with your pooch
Get into Flyball
I hadn’t seen Flyball in action until I went to Taloodles Dog Day Out (a fundraiser for Taloodles Therapy Dogs). If you haven’t heard of Flyball, you aren’t alone, but boy, does it look fun.
Flyball is a relay race between two teams of four dogs held over three or five heats. The dogs race side by side. One dog from each team must go over four hurdles, trigger a flyball box pedal, catch (retrieve) a ball and then return over all four hurdles to the start/finish line where the next dog eagerly awaits.
It’s an activity that combines all the things dogs love to do – jumping, catching, retrieving and pleasing you! I thought it would only be for certain breeds but I was proved wrong. Any dog can participate, regardless of breed, shape or size.
And one of the best things I saw (apart from how much the dogs loved it!) was how much camaraderie appeared amongst the humans! So if you and your dog want a really fun activity, check out Flyball Associations around Australia.
Teach an old dog new tricks
Any dog can learn tricks at home and any owner can teach their dog a few tricks. The tricks don’t have to be complicated. Most dogs learn very quickly if you just take the time to teach them. And time is the key word here.
You can teach your dog to roll over, to give you a high five, to fetch your newspaper, to stand and dance -- to do virtually anything.
For instance, if you want to teach your dog to give you a high five, all you need to do is touch his paw with your hand. When he picks up his paw, praise him and give him a small treat. Repeat this a couple of times asking him to do it with a phrase such as High Five!
When you say High Five and your dog picks up his paw, praise and reward your dog. Keep doing this until your dog is touching his paw to your hand in a high five, a little higher each time. It’s not hard to teach at all. And your dog loves the attention and time you spend with them.
Dance it off!
Now you may think I am crazy but how about a bit of dog dancing? Properly known as Canine Freestyle, this cool activity involves teaching your pooch to follow your movements as you move through a dance routine. I kid you not!
Canine Freestyle is a crowd pleaser and it’s fun for dogs - and their owners, too. It is a choreographed performance to music that shows the training and relationship of a dog and it’s owner. Once your dog knows the basics there’s no end to how far the two of you can go.
Watching an athletic, trained dog moving to music will make you smile. There are several organisations here in Australia including www.thatdogdancingguy.com.au
There are lots of fun things to do with your dog that will stimulate and entertain both you and your dog. So go on - spend some quality time with your dog. It will be fun for both of you!