Now you’re home more and the kids are out of school, there’s no better time to get training.
Whether young or old, all dogs can benefit from regular training sessions. It helps build your bond and reduces naughty behaviour in and out of the home.
Start with the basics, read our advice for training dogs of any age new obedience tricks like lie down, fetch and roll over.
Set realistic goals
You may want to set up a schedule for the summer, and involve the whole family in training your dog.
Even adult dogs have new things to learn and behaviours to master, so it may be worth writing a list of goals for your dog’s learning this summer.
Start small, perhaps they need to work on their recall after a nightmare walk in the park or maybe it’s time to finally master the art of heeling by your side on a walk.
If your dog is struggling with the basics, you could even go along to a local puppy pre-school for some in person pointers.
Work on the problem areas
After identifying where your dog has room for improvement in their training, set aside a few minutes every day to reinforce the correct behaviours with them.
Remain patient with them and don’t expect results instantly. The trick to mastery is to go slow and reinforce often.
Keep sessions short (5-10 minutes), and frequently praise your dog with enthusiasm when they perform the trick or behaviour correctly.
Keep them busy to protect your home
A bored dog has the potential to be destructive, so be mindful to provide them with plenty of stimulation whilst you’re not home.
Games to keep your dog entertained
If you’re looking for fun boredom busters to keep your dog busy during the holidays, consider:
1. Hide and treat
Just like hide and seek, only with more treats and less squabbling. The game encourages your dog to use their nose, which is great mental stimulation for them.
First, remove your dog from the room as you set up the game.
Next, hide some of their favourite treats in different spots around the room. If you have a snuffle mat or similar dog toy, hide a few treats in obvious places to help your dog understand the game.
Once the room is ready, let them in and give them the comment ‘search’, ‘find’ or even ‘hide and seek!’
Give them pointers if they look confused, this can be especially necessary with older dogs as they first get to grips with the game.
If you have multiple dogs, consider preparing separate rooms for them so they do not over eat or become possessive over the same treat.
Give a lot of excited praise once they find each treat. When they have a good understanding of the command, you can even begin expanding the area where you hide the treats, making it more difficult.
2. The cup game
You can set up this interactive game with your dog using just a few cups, boxes or containers, or whatever you have lying around the house.
Start by hiding one of their favourite treats under the cup. Set several similar cups upside down beside it, placing treats under only one of the cups.
If your dog has never played this game, you may need to start by showing them where the treats are and covering them up.
Once they get the hang of it, you can increase the difficulty by not letting them see which cup the treats are under beforehand, which forces them to use their nose to sniff out the right cup.
3. Fetch for pros
For the super energetic dogs that absolutely cannot sit still, a game of fetch is never long enough.
Consider investing in an automatic ball launcher to keep them entertained for hours!
Some dogs will get the hang of this very quickly, but you might need to train your dog to place the ball in the correct position to be launched again.
We hope this blog post has given you some ideas to keep your dog entertained this summer holiday.