It can sometimes be challenging to get your dog outside. Maybe the weather is too cold or your pup doesn’t like to be out in the rain.
But just because a dog walk seems out of the question doesn’t mean your dog can’t get physical exercise or mental stimulation. There are a few fun agility training options that will help keep your dog happy and healthy, no matter how cold or rainy.
Create an Obstacle Course
An obstacle course is an excellent DIY dog agility training method that can be a lot of fun for your dog and you. You can use your imagination to set up the indoor course, and your dog will have fun learning its new agility training!
Why Make Your Own Obstacles?
Dogs need to train their brains as much as their bodies. When a dog is learning and stretching its mental muscles, it’s happiest. Conversely, dogs that become bored are more likely to be destructive or anxious.
Why Make Your Own Obstacles?
If you use your imagination, you’ll find plenty of things around your home that you could use in your indoor agility course. The most important thing is to find a safe area to build your agility trials course. This may mean moving around the furniture in your living room or ensuring your hallway is clear.
Next, find different obstacles for your dog to complete. A few excellent ideas include:
- Cardboard boxes: Use these to create tunnels for your dog to navigate through.
- Hula hoop: Position these at an appropriate height and have your dog jump them.
- Old couch cushions: You can use these for landing pads after a jump or create tunnels by leaning the cushions together in an upright position.
- Benches: Make sure they’re wide enough for your dog to safely walk across and use as a transition between two other obstacles.
- Dining room chairs and a large blanket: This is another excellent way to make an easy tunnel and can work for even bigger dogs.
- Stools: Use these as hurdles your dog can safely jump over.
You can also purchase hurdles, tunnels, stairs and such specifically made for indoor dog agility courses. This isn’t necessary but is an excellent option if you want to expand your current course and add something new to keep things fresh.
When you first set up your indoor agility trials, you’ll need to spend some time teaching your dog what to do. Begin training by providing direction and using positive reinforcement. Start with one obstacle and slowly increase by one as your pup masters the previous one. Although it may take some time, your dog will soon be acing the course easily.
When You Can Take Your Dog Outside
If your dog enjoys the indoor obstacle course, keep this in mind for when the weather is warmer and drier. Outdoor agility training has a lot more possibilities (and room).
For example, your dog can learn tire jumps, walking on a teeter-totter or how to weave poles outside. The indoor course that gets the two of you through cold, rainy weather teaches many of the skills needed to tackle something more complicated.
Create a Basic Obedience Boot Camp
What if you live in a small house or apartment and don’t have the space to set up an indoor course? Or what if your puppy hasn’t learned enough to take complex commands from you? Don’t worry — you still have options. For example, you could create a basic obedience boot camp.
This boot camp is a great precursor to agility training because it focuses on simple commands. Start this training by teaching your dog things like:
- How to walk on a leash
- Sit (and lie down)
- Leave it (or no)
Once your dog has mastered all these basic commands, you can start teaching it tricks like shake hands or roll over. Before you know it, it’ll be ready to tackle an indoor or outdoor obstacle course if you want to.
Go Treasure Hunting Indoors
Did your dog master the basic obedience boot camp, but you don’t have the room for an indoor obstacle course? Try a treasure hunt instead.
You can hide one or more of your dog’s favorite toys or treats and have it find them. Not only does this keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated, but it also lets it use its nose and eyes to find things.
Before you hide the treats or toys, let your dog sniff them. This will show your pup what to look for. Then, use the sit and stay commands to keep it in one spot while you hide the items.
It’s important to start with just one treat or toy for your first treasure hunt. Then, you can add another treat or toy as your dog begins understanding what it’s supposed to do. Feel free to slowly introduce more until you’ve reached five or six, depending on your dog’s abilities.
Why Create Indoor Agility Courses?
There are many reasons to create an indoor agility course for your purebred or mixed-breed dogs. Dogs of every breed can be challenging to get outside when it’s cold or rainy. Regardless of what the weather’s like, most dogs still require mental and physical stimulation. How much mental or physical exercise your dog needs will depend on the dog’s temperament, breed and age. You know your dog best, so consider its exact needs when determining the duration and complexity of your indoor agility training.
Agility courses help build confidence and create physically fit dogs. They can also prevent unwanted behaviors, such as property destruction or excessive anxiety. Most importantly, dogs that are having their physical needs met are less likely to wander off and get lost.
Halo Collar Keeps Your Dog Safe and Fit
If your dog is prone to running off or you just want extra protection against the possibility, invest in a Halo Collar. At Halo Collar, we believe in putting your dog’s health and safety first. Our collars provide a personal halo of protection that keeps your pet inside your yard at all times where they are free to explore and run around to their heart’s content. With collar sizes to fit all breeds, Halo will be both you and your dog’s new best friend.