juillet 2020
Expert Author Kay Ringelstetter

One of the best things about being a dog owner is the ability to enjoy some outdoor fun with your friend. Your canine pal will always be more than happy to share in the excitement of the outdoors with you, no matter what you choose to do. They will never complain and always be the finest companion. So think big and plan some new adventures.


1) Play fetch with your dog. You can do this in your backyard or in your local dog park. A good old-fashioned game of fetch is fun. Dogs are born with the instinct to hunt and retrieve and they look forward to returning to their happy owner again and again. Fetch will give your dog his needed exercise, will help strengthen the bond between you and will get him in the habit of happily returning to you. There are many fetching toys available, but a simple tennis ball will be sufficient.


2) Swimming is great exercise for both of you. While not all dogs are natural swimmers, most will learn to enjoy it. Enjoying the water during the summer months will cool off your pet while they also are immersed in the physical activity of this low-impact sport. Swimming won't stress the joints, yet it works many muscles at the same time. Take a few buoyant fetch toys along to toss for your canine pal to retrieve and return to you.


3) Take your dog camping with you. Camping is a wonderful way to experience the outdoors and your dog will be a willing and ready companion. If you choose to camp near a lake or stream, your dog can play in the water while you relax nearby with a good book.


4) Dog parks, including dog agility trails are both real boons for the urban dweller. Dog parks will allow your pet to romp and play off-leash with other dogs and with you, their owner. The best parks are filled with well-socialized dogs and owners, are large enough to allow unlimited running and are strongly fenced. More and more parks are now offering agility trails, designed to give your pet a fun and challenging workout. Your pet will enjoy obstacle courses consisting of ramps, hurdles, balancing bridges and many other obstacles which they must navigate through and around. This is becoming a growing new sport for your active pet.


5) Go for a hike. This is not just your leisurely stroll down the street, but an extended hike through new and exciting territory. This could involve a trip to a local state park or simply exploring a back country rood or open or wooded area nearby. If you live near the ocean, an excursion to the beach will be an experience you will both treasure. The new views and different terrain will be welcome changes for both of you. Please be aware of the prevention needed for Canine Lyme Disease and also remember to bring water for your dog and for yourself on your hike.


6) Consider biking, rollerblading or jogging with your well-trained pet. If your dog has been trained to stay by your side with no yanking or pulling, you will be able to bike, roller-blade or jog with your friend by your side. You may want to consider protective doggie shoes for their sensitive pads. Certainly remember to bring additional water, too.


Outdoor exercise is critical to your dog's health, but there is no reason why it must be boring. Try a few of the fun outdoor activities noted above and enjoy the bonding, the fresh air, the mental stimulation and the fun exercise with your dog.

Expert Author Kay Ringelstetter

One of the most popular methods of dog training is the leash/collar style of training. This type of training has proven it's effectiveness over many years. It is always used when a dog must have a high level of reliability, such as that of rescue dogs, police dogs, guard dogs and dogs for the disabled. But it will also keep you and your dog safe when out on your walks, by preventing the pulling and tugging that invariably occurs with a dog who is not trained properly to walk with a leash.

Positive reinforcement is the best tool to use to train your dog. This is superior to punishment in establishing the behavior of your dog on a leash. Positive reinforcement results in lasting behavioral modification. Punishment changes behavior only temporarily with the result that it will reappear later, bringing along with it more problem behavior. By using positive reinforcement, you will build a bond of trust and cooperation between your pet and yourself.

First you must slowly introduce the leash to your dog and also the collar if he has not been wearing one. A regular, flat buckle collar is all that you need. A choke collar is not necessary. Let your pet sniff them as you gently place them before him. Reward him with praise for his interest. Give a treat, if you plan to use treats with your training. Slowly place the collar around his neck and once he becomes comfortable with that, attach the leash and let him drag it around the house. Praise him for his interest in using the leash and collar.

Keep your training sessions short. You can train several times during the day, but remember this is supposed to be fun for your dog. You don't want to push him past his limit. Puppies generally have an attention span of about 5 minutes, so do not insist on training beyond this or you may teach your pup to actually dread training. Multiple training sessions will help your dog learn quickly.

Since these short sessions to not provide adequate exercise for your pet, you must find other ways of exercise to help tire your dog before beginning your training. Dogs generally pull on the leash because they are full of excess energy. Tire your canine friend before training by playing fetch in the hallway or the backyard. Or maybe drive your dog to the dog park to run with his friends.

Begin your training indoors, where there are fewer distractions for your pet. The initial goal here is not to teach your dog to "heel" right by your side. You want to leave room for your pet to sniff and explore as long as he always leaves some slack in the leash. He must always follow your lead in order to be allowed his freedom. Simply pick up the end of the leash and walk around your home with your dog trotting beside you. As he walks along on a loose leash, give him plenty of praise, petting and some treats. When he decides to strain on the leash, (which he will), simply stop immediately. Don't yank him back over to you with the leash. Call him back to you and praise him when he comes. NEVER ever keep walking when your pet is pulling on the leash. This will reward his behavior and reinforce his bad habit. Your dog learns that the only way he will go move forward is by always leaving some slack in the leash. He will learn that when he pulls on the leash, he will get nowhere. Once your pet is back by your side, begin walking again. And repeat, repeat and repeat some more. It will take patience and persistence, but armed with these qualities and practice, you will be successful.

When you are ready to step outside, you will have a lot of competition for your dog's attention. Simply continue the above steps, working even harder of course. You may need to use a lot of treats in the beginning stages, but as your pet gets the idea of what you expect from him, you can slowly phase out the treats by waiting longer intervals before handing them out.

Training your dog will reinforce the relationship between yourselves and gain the respect of your canine friend. Dogs are wired by nature to seek out leaders and to follow directions from those leaders, so your pet will discover that leader in you. This will help your friend become a more calm, faithful and happier dog and a better family companion to others in your family.