While the world is continuing to change and present various challenges, many of us are going back to jobs or continuing to work remotely, caring for our human families, and keeping our four-legged loved ones safe too. In the midst of all this (and probably more), you may be looking for ways to maintain a sense of normalcy for yourself and those around you. The good news is that when it comes to our inquisitive canines, keeping indoor adventures fun and engaging, as well as finding fun in the great outdoors will be rewarding (pun fully intended!) for both of you. Here are a few helpful hints and tips to think about while adventuring with your best friend.
Set Yourself Up for Success Too!
First and most importantly, what we wish for you all is good health and peace of mind. For so many of us, things are difficult right now. If you’re making it through the day, doing your best to meet your basic needs -and your dog’s, please know that you are doing great! Now is not the time for perfectionism or self-criticism. Do the best you can. Ask for help when you need it. And remember, our dogs are still thrilled by our very existence!
Familiar, Yet Fun!
If you’re looking to take things to the next level, it doesn’t require much to bring novelty to your dog’s world. Even if your walking route is familiar to your pup, you can still change it up. Think about what obedience and tricks practice you can add to your routine. For instance, consider cueing a “stay” or “wait” at every blind corner or crosswalk, or working on loose-leash walking for a block at a time, if not more. You can even ask your dog to spin or play dead at every third mailbox! How about a “royalty wave” as a way to say hello to others, from six feet away? If you’re not in the mood for new tricks and manners, what about a new outfit, including a harness? The point is that your dog will cherish the time outdoors engaging with you, whether you’re following the same old neighborhood route or discovering new places.
New Places Can Also Be New!
Dogs don’t generalize especially well. That means it takes practice for them to learn that the behaviors you like are not context- or environment-specific. So, even if pup is rock-solid on obedience behaviors at your favorite park and around your neighborhood, those behaviors may need more work in unfamiliar places. If local guidelines and laws allow it, you can take this opportunity to explore new outdoor spots with your pooch. You can help your dog learn to generalize by going back to basics and rewarding desirable behaviors generously in a variety of locations. Keep in mind, you may need to lower your expectations a bit, at least at first. Don’t worry, you’ll know when your dog ‘gets it’ as you work back up to proficiency. For most dogs though, it won’t take nearly as long to teach a known behavior in a new context. And then, together, you can move on to discover your next new spot. Enjoy the exploration!
No matter if you’re staying put or adventuring outdoors, we wish you, your families, and the pets you love, peace, health, and comfort as we all navigate these unprecedented times together.
Have you discovered new places or new ways to enjoy adventures with your inquisitive canine in these past few months? Please comment below or social share with us!
Updated November 2022