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Arguably the most important step in successfully training your pooch is relationship building. It is through bonding with you, his pet-parent, that your dog is made to feel secure, knowing that he is accepted as part of your family. By developing a loving and caring relationship, trust is built and companionship between you and your dog is made strong. This allows him not only to respond more promisingly to obedience training but also to improve the quality of both of your lives in the long run.
Fun Activities to Get Closer to Fido
1. Have a picnic. Look for a dog-friendly park and then pack a dog-friendly lunch for both you and your pup. Here, you and Fido can take a laid-back breath of air as you enjoy a healthy meal together without breaking a sweat.
2. Hiking. Head for a hiking trail or wooded hillside that permits leashed dogs Spend the day together, exploring and looking for new sites and smells. If you find n interesting rock or spot a lizard, show it to your dog. Likewise, if your dog seems interested in something, get in for a closer look. Your dog will love bonding over nature. And, as you continue to show him interesting found objects, he’ll continue to look up to you for more! Just make sure to use flea or tick preventatives on your pooch while you use an insect repellant for yourself.
3. Road trip. Decide your destination, pick the routes to take, and bring along lots of things your dog loves. If you choose an overnight stay somewhere, make sure that you ask first if the hotel you intend to check in accepts pets. If not, you can rent a mobile home and travel en route for dog-friendly spots. Better yet, spend the night in a dog-friendly campsite and take your four-legged friend on an outdoor adventure while you’re there!
4. Take your dog to work. Some companies set aside a single day a year for pet owners to bring their pets into work. Check if the corporation you’re working for will permit your pooch to participate. While he’s at the office with you, take him around to meet co-workers and their pets. Take him for a long walk on your lunch break, and bring plenty of treats to keep him happy through the day.
5. Nursing home or hospital visits. For owners of mellow dogs, you can try spending some time together while helping others. Visit hospitals or nursing homes to cheer up some room-bound patients.
6. Teach new tricks. Train your pooch to respond to new commands. Just don’t expend too much time on your practice. Ten minutes will be enough for Fido to be excited about picking up something new and to interact with you. He’ll love the treats and undivided attention he gets from you. Make sure to give plenty of praise and over-the-top excitement when he “gets it.”
7. Winning titles. When your pooch has already learned the basic obedience commands, try working together to earn some obedience titles. Visit your local kennel club to learn more about how Fido can reach a companion dog status and later win higher titles. More important than any title is the extra time you spend together to earn it.
8. Movie marathon. Choose a film where the main characters are dogs (e.g. Homeward Bound, Milo and Otis, Dr. Dolittle, or Air Bud). Get a bag of tasty popcorn and a bowl of delicious dog bones, and then watch the video with your canine friend. Invite your dog onto the couch with you, or make a cozy spot on the floor for you both. Even if he’s not interested in the movie, he’ll enjoy your quiet time together.
9. Frisbee. Not only is tossing a Frisbee around very fun, it can also help your pooch stay healthy. Although it may take several tries to get Fido excited about chasing the toy, but if he enjoys playing fetch then he should also enjoy Frisbee. If your pup has trouble picking up a standard Frisbee, try a floppy, disk-style instead.
10. Buy a new toy together. Visit your local pet store and let your pooch pick out his own new toy or treat. There are lots of doggie playthings that will stimulate Fido both mentally and physically, and entertain him for hours. While you’re there, take a walk past the other animals, too. He’ll enjoy checking out the fish, birds, and other animals, too!