If you are like most dog owners you treat your pooch as if he is your child. It is important to strengthen the bond between you, whenever you can. The best way to keep your union in tact is to get out there and play together. Physical activity is extremely important for your pup’s well being. Believe it or not playing simple games together will reinforce your relationship and help your precious pet feel loved and secure.
Tug of War
Most dogs love to play tug of war it challenges them mentally and physically. Some may argue that it may make your dog more aggressive but this is not the case.
Playing a friendly game together will only boost human canine connection. You will want to get a tug toy that is durable and made of rubber. Make sure the handle is easy grip and keeps a good distance between your hand and your dog’s mouth.
Before hand you should teach your doggy a release command like drop it or let go.In case you need to abort the game it will come in handy. Playing this game in a backyard is perfect because you will need lots of wide open space. In a game of tug of war your dog will get excited because his predatory nature is coming out. He may growl at a low level, it is perfectly normal. However if he gets overly excited or aggressive you must immediately stop tugging and firmly give your release command. You should definitely let your dog win this builds his confidence and rewards him. There are some pretty cool toys on the market made especially for this game like, this Fire Hose Tug.
Go for a Swim
If you happen to have a pool in your yard this is an excellent workout for you and your hound. Swimming works your dog’s whole body and implements relaxation for his brain. You could make a fun game of it by throwing her favorite toy into the pool while you both dive in to retrieve it. Make sure you watch your dog and lead him out of the pool. Dogs can tire from paddling and may not know hoe to get out. It is your job to make sure the water is a positive experience not one that will panic your tail wagging companion. Also be sure to dry your pooch’s ears when your time in the pool is done to prevent an ear infection.There is a great article by Bobbi Leder about dog safety in the pool.
Frisbee is a wonderful exhilarating way to get in shape for you and your canine. This is one of the most challenging games to teach your dog, it requires patience and repetition. Once your sweet Mutt catches on this will bring both of you hours of joy. When introducing the disc to Rover try a little incentive by putting a treat inside the disc to entice him to want to play with it.
Once he seems to really like it and seems comfortable with the Frisbee use it to play a little tug of war. Teach the pooch to grasp the disc. When he has mastered that you can move on to showing him how to release it. You can accomplish this task by teaching your pup the “give” command. Give your dog the Frisbee then hold up a treat and direct him with a “give” command. Take the disc and give the pup the treat. If he does not give up the Frisbee do not give him the treat.
This should not remind your dog of tug of war, you need to get him to give up the disc without hesitation. When he gives up the disc effortlessly you can move on to catch and return. Make sure you are in close proximity to your dog and toss him the Frisbee. Make it a very big deal that he caught the disc and have him come over with the Frisbee in his mouth and get a treat. Keep using the treat until it eventually just becomes a fun game you play together. Little by little increase the distance and soon you will be playing backyard Frisbee with your best friend.
Fetch of course is the most popular and favorite past time of dogs all over the world. With a fenced in yard, a few twigs or some chew toys fun for your pup is always available. This is perfect if you want to make sure your canine gets his daily exercise but your are too tired to run around with him. Simply sit yourself down in your hammock or favorite deck chair throw the object and let your pooch do all the work. Most breeds of dogs instinctively know how to play fetch, however there are times when your doggy may a bit confused on just exactly how to play. There is a great article by Steve Thompson on how to teach your dog to fetch. There is also a great book you can check out on the topic, 101 Dog Tricks.