Walking isn’t the only thing that dogs enjoy doing. They also love having their minds exercised. Here are 10 ways you can give your dog a job – they will thank you for it!
1. Get your dog a backpack.
When I walk my two dogs, I usually add a backpack. Apollo carries the water, and Merlin carries his Chuck-It!, leash, water bowl, and anything else I think I’ll need during our walk. Having them both engaged in carrying their gear has improved Apollo’s aniety, and made them both feel like they are helping out.
2. Buy slow feed bowls and puzzle toys.
Dogs LOVE working for their food. You could even use plastic containers from the dollar store if you’re on a budget. Put about a ¼ cup of his food in each container and stack them. If that’s too easy for your dog, you can put the lids on the contairners for an extra challenge.
3. Teach your dog a new trick.
My dog Merlin always loved fetching his ball, but Apollo needed extra incentive, so I started feeding him when he brought the ball (or frisbee) back to me. When they were young, I gave them treats for sitting and downing on command. They were often more tired after those training sessions (about 15 minutes long) than they were after their walk.
4. Practice obedience commands or incorporate them into fetch.
If your dog is like mine, his most favourite thing in the world is his ball, and his most absolute favourite thing to do, is play fetch! Merlin will do anything for his ball, so when I want to add extra challenge to the game, I will tell him to “sit” before i throw the ball. He is not allowed to move from sit until I tell him “OK!” This makes it more challrnging in a couple ways; first, it is hard for him to sit when he REALLY wants to chase his ball, and second, he has to actually search for the ball once I tell him to go get it.
5. Learn how to bikejor or skijor with your dog.
When all your dog wants to do is run, let him! Training for bikejoring is pretty easy and can make walking your dog easier as well since you are teaching your dog direction commands (right, left, stop, slow down, etc). I have done this with Apollo and he got winded pretty quickly, so I would recommend it for high energy dogs.
What are some other ways to give our dogs a job? What helps your dog?