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Dog training is like your retirement account, an investment. You will see the returns of your effort by sticking with the programme for the long haul. Training can improve not only your dog’s quality of life, but your own. Having a pet is a happy thing but having an unruly dog who refuses to listen can be a major stressor. Training helps you understand your dog better and bridge the communication gap.
It is a great way to stimulate your pet’s brain and teach him to use all his senses. You can hide a treat or a favourite toy. Begin with something simple. Hide the treat/toy somewhere obvious and even let your pet see where you are hiding. Then give him a release by asking him to ‘Find’. Once your pet understands the game and gains confidence, then you can increase the difficulty level.
You can add variety to this game by hiding treat under cups or objects and ask your dog to choose the right cup by pawing or nudging.
Hide n Seek
Quite similar to Treasure Hunt game but here your pet is finding you. Put your dog in Sit-Stay, or make one person hold your pet while you hide. Initially you can call out your dog to give him a cue as to where you are. Once he understands the game, allow your pet to find you from your smell.
Teach a new trick
Every time you are teaching your dog something new, you are providing him with a mental challenge. Search around for new tricks to work on. You can watch some videos on the internet or ask a trainer to help you.
Play with interactive puzzles
You can purchase dog puzzles or treat dispenser toys or make one at home yourself. If your dog eats packaged dog food then you can give at least one meal of the day in puzzle for your dog to work on. This interactive game challenges your dog’s brain and sharpens their problem solving and analytical skills.
‘Fetch’ is one of the most basic and most loved games by dogs. Once your dog knows how to retrieve a toy, you can add variants to the game by adding more commands or tricks to it. You can play this game indoors or outdoors. During monsoon or extreme weather play it on the stairs. This way you’ll keep him physically and mentally active.
It is an easy DIY toy that not only helps your dog work on his basic manners and impulse control, but it also gives him fun workout in just a few minutes. You attach your dog’s favourite ball or tug toy to a long object (pipe or rope or old tee). It is like a giant cat toy which you drag around on the ground and your dog chases and tugs on it.
There are some rules to the game. Ask your dog to ‘Sit’ or ‘Lie Down’ when you start the game. Then tease your dog with the Flirt pole by dragging it around but ask your dog to ‘Stay’ and not take the toy till you give a release command ‘Take It;. After a little chase, reward your dog by allowing him to catch the toy and play little tug with it until you ask him to ‘Drop It’.
Run errands with your pet
A quick run to the vegetable vendor, a stopover at a friend’s house, or a quick car ride in the evening, running errands can be so much fun when you have your furry companion along. It also gives them a chance to explore the world and meet new people.
Dog walking with a twist
It’s true that walking is great physical exercise, but for dogs it’s also about exploration. Look out for elements on the road like poles, trees, steps or benches as you can hop on & off or weave through and add little agility to your mundane walk.
Agility at home
Dog agility does not have to be only an outdoor game. You can use chairs, hula hoops and any existing furniture to teach your dog to weave and jump over, or crawl under. You can also teach him weaving forward through our legs or to jump over our legs.
Travel with your pet
There is nothing as exciting and therapeutic as travelling with your pet. Go for a hike, take him to the beach, or just a laidback picnic near the lake. Let your dog get dirty and enjoy every little moment. It is a great way to bond with your pet and relax.
Bonding pet and pet parent
Over the last five years, BarknBond has added many more services which defined our mission and helped strengthening the bond between a man and a dog. Services offered are listed as under:
Pre-pet consultation: Consultation on pet parenting, on breed (buying or adoption), on having a pet or not, etc. Finding a suitable companion who fits right in your family and environment. Commitment is never impulsive.
Canine training & behaviour consultation
BarknBond pet camp: An off-leash weekend at a resort/campsite near Mumbai, where pets do what pets love – swim, trek, get dirty, play, dig, run, bond, Repeat!!
BarknBond social: Conducting destress sessions and informative sessions (how to interact with dogs, dog bite prevention, etc.) at Corporate Offices, Private Parties, Individual Homes.
Corporate canine programme: An experential learning programme where employess get an opportunity to work with dogs and learn basic organisation skills and people skills from dogs; which they can apply at their workplace.
Importance of training
One of the primary reasons dogs are surrendered to shelters is because pet parents are overwhelmed with behaviour issues. A professional can help you work with the behaviours that are stressful, and your dog won’t end up going to a shelter.
Advice to pet parents
Before getting a pet home, research on the breed or run behavioural tests with help of a professional on the rescued dog, as it is very important to know what you are getting into and if you can give that much time and money to raise a pet in happy and content environment.
Be a responsible pet parent, work on your pet’s behaviour to make him a good canine citizen, pick up after your dog to keep the surroundings clean—all these factors help us achieve the goal of making India and its people pet friendly.
(Pranita Balar is canine trainer at BarknBond in Mumbai, which is a one-stop solution for pet parents for all their concerns regarding raising a good canine citizen. Services offered at BarknBond include pre-pet consultation, canine training and behaviour consultation, pet sitting, pet camp, socialisation and corporate canine programme).
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