Tag Archives: Exercise

Sophie

Embrace the Curfew

Five German Shepherds

Left to right: Fin, Amy, Sophie, Blitz and Molly

Out of Control

Back in 2002, we were the confused owners of five German Shepherds. Their behaviour was appalling and we were losing control. Every morning we would take them to the nearby army ranges for their morning walk. We found ourselves going earlier and earlier in the hope that we wouldn’t meet other dog walkers because if we did, it would turn into utter chaos.

We realised we needed to do something about the situation and we consulted dog behaviour expert, Angela Stockdale of The Dog Partnership. Her advice was ‘they need a curfew‘. We were even more confused if we didn’t take them out, how would they get the exercise they needed? They would become even worse, surely.

We decided to put our scepticism aside and follow her advice. For three months we didn’t take them out for walks. Their stress levels that had been escalating day on day during the walk, began to come down.

Life without walkies

But you can’t just stop walking your dog and leave it at that. The morning walk had to be replaced with some other activity. For us it was clicker training and to say it was a life-saver is not an exaggeration.  We scheduled short five-minute sessions several times a day, individually for each dog. It enabled us to get to know each one of them far better, learn their strengths and weaknesses, what motivated them and what bored them.

In no time at all, they weren’t rushing to the front door at 5 am, barking and waking the whole neighbourhood. They were more relaxed. When it came to training sessions, we did various different things with each of them. We had a lot of glass doors and when one was doing their training session, the others would watch.

Dogs Dancing

Molly (left) does the tango with Fin

Molly, who was a timid girl, learned to dance and her confidence grew. Fin, who was our newest rescue, learned some manners and how to behave around ladies!

Dog Skateboarding

Amy on her skateboard

Amy who was frankly a bit of a thug diverted her attention to skateboarding.

KONG Time

Amy (left) and Sophie at the top of the stairs

Sophie was a master of the KONG. She would empty it of every last crumb by taking it to the top of the stairs and dropping it down.

Jolly Ball

Blitz with his beloved Jolly Ball

Blitz, our first rescue boy who was a real gentleman, loved the Jolly Ball and would spend ages playing with it on his own. Both him and Fin mastered the peek-a-boo trick (see our What Makes You Click Training Cards for this trick) and many others.

Did it work?

So, what was the result of our three-month curfew? We had calmer, better-behaved dogs that we knew as individuals. They could entertain us and show off their tricks which they really enjoyed. Who doesn’t enjoy praise for a job done well? It was time well spent and we were able to gradually reintroduce them to the outside world.

What you can do right now

Why not give clicker training a try? We have Clicker Training Cards, that come complete with clicker and treats, or download our What Makes You Click? cards absolutely free and get started right away.

Clicker Cue Cards

What Makes You Click Training Cards

You will need lots of tasty Training Treats which we have in abundance, or why not make your own. Most people have a tin of tuna, flour and eggs in the house. This recipe will get you up and running in no time: Tillies Tuna Cake Recipe.

Tuna Dog Treats

Tillies Tuna Cake Recipe

Snuffle Mats are becoming an increasingly popular game for dogs and cats. If you fancy a challenge how about making your own Snuffle Mat to keep them entertained when you’re flagging. An old doormat and some t-shirts should suffice to complete this excellent tutorial from the Dogs Trust.

Make your own Snuffle Mat

Make your own Snuffle Mat

Learn to love the curfew

Your dogs may not be badly-behaved and in need of a curfew, but it has been forced on us all and we have an opportunity to really make the best of it by embracing it and spending quality time with our furry friends. You never know, both dog and owner could learn something new.

The Great British Dog Walk

The daily dog walk is sadly in decline

As dog owners, one of our main responsibilities is the daily dog walk. Let’s face it, when the weather is rough, or we fancy another hour in bed, or there’s something good on the telly, we often search for an excuse NOT to walk the dog. In fact, those are some of the top reasons we use as well as a whole host of others. Now Forthglade have launched a campaign to reinstate The Great British Dog Walk and help you re-discover the joy of walking. Not only is it good for our pets, it’s good for us too, and a good walk can affect our health, wellbeing and happiness.

What with the obesity crisis, which affects not only humans, but our pets as well a daily walk could be just what we all need to get us back on track.

But before we all rush out and get started, another factor we may want to consider, especially in the colder weather is the ‘warm-up’, which can be important if your daily walk involves chasing a ball, flying disc, or in our case, the Puller Exercise Toy for Dogs. It had never occurred to us before. Our dogs can be seen hurtling out of the front door, across the yard and into the field in hot pursuit of their favourite purple toy! However, recently we came across an article on Warm-up Exercises for your Dog. Humans are aware that they need to warm up their muscles before exercise but for some reason, we hadn’t thought about it for our dogs.

It doesn’t have to be a long, complicated process, just a few minutes of some basic moves will make all the difference and could prevent injury. It also offers a fabulous opportunity to bond with a bit of training. Do some circles to the left and right, have your dog weave through your legs, teach them a play bow.

Similarly, towards the end of your exercise, make sure that you calm things down and give your dog time to cool off before he returns to the car or indoors.

So now is the perfect time to think a little differently about that daily chore, turn it into a fun experience that is a pleasure for both you and your dog. There are some great motivators on the Forthglade site and also experts on hand to help you along the way.

Take up the six-week dog walk challenge and fall in love with that daily walk all over again, but more importantly, make a dog happy today and every day!