It is a known fact that dogs are best adventure partners. And if you’re like us, you and your pup have big plans together. But it’s up to you to get your canine companion in shape for the types of outdoor outings you want to do and to help them achieve their biological potential. Here are six things to keep in mind when training your dog for the ultimate adventure.
Build physical stamina
If you want to raise the bar from casual walks to longer outdoor adventures, you need to do so gradually, says Tracey Hagan of Pawsitive Purpose Dog Training. You’ll also have to wait for your puppy to finish – usually 8 to 18 months; something your veterinarian can confirm – before taking them for higher-impact activities. Then you can try to gradually increase the mileage. “See what your dog is doing,” says Hagan, noting that you should always check their body language for signs of fatigue. If she gasps extremely hard, refuses to move forward, or shows signs of injury, give her water and rest. This applies to running, swimming, and biking next to you.
Don’t forget about mental fitness
Just like humans, dogs need mental stimulation to build their intelligence and track smarts. Puzzle toys, food balls, lick mats, and paddling pools are some popular toys that you can use to challenge your dog. “There are all kinds that you can get, but I like to make them myself,” says Hagan. “It’s cheaper and the dogs have just as much fun.” She’s tried everything from burying goodies in a sandpit to hiding groceries in a two-liter bottle to teaching yoga balls in the corner of a yard. She says mental games can also help curb bad behaviors like barking, digging, and whining. Scented walks – slower walks where you allow Fido to sniff as much as he wants – is another way Hagan suggests to mess things up.
Maintain a healthy diet
As your dog gets stronger, eating a healthy diet is essential to its growth and development. But not all pet foods are created equal. In the wild, your dog’s ancestors ate all of the delicious and nutritious parts of their prey – meat, organs, bones, and everything. For this reason, ORIJEN diets contain ingredients for whole animals in nutritional proportions: The first five ingredients in their foods are always fresh or raw animal protein from sources such as beef, poultry, fish or eggs. From nutrient-rich recipes to support puppy development through to original protein-rich dog food, ORIJEN feeds your adventure dog the way nature intended.
Teach a few key skills
At the starting point, you don’t want your dog to jump out of the car as soon as you open the door. Hagan says that “come” and “wait” are useful commands in all kinds of scenarios, but her favorite exercise is aiming, which she teaches by holding a treat in her fist and letting the dog touch its nose with her hand. “I use this to get the dog away from things that they might not be supposed to be approaching,” says Hagan. Each dog will have a threshold for the number of distractions they can deal with before they stop listening to you. An effective way to train dogs to listen better in overwhelming situations is to gradually expose them to more intense sounds and sights as you condition them. Start exercising inside before going outside. Hagan also plays sounds on YouTube and increases the volume when dogs stop noticing, while teaching them various commands and rewarding them with treats.
Take your time every day
A five-minute walk is better than no walk at all. But if you plan to take your dog on a day hike or long outing, he’ll have to work on it just like you. So you need to devote more time and patience to your puppy in your day. Hagan says the mental activities take less effort on your part because you can leave them behind with a treat dispenser or other puzzle toy. It is the physical training that will take more time. Aim for physical activity a few times a day. Imagine yourself and your dog getting fit for your adventure together.
ORIJEN pet food is packaged with high quality animal ingredients to reflect your pet’s diet and give them the nutrition they need to thrive every day. This quality of feeding is an investment in your enjoyment of life with your pet and a commitment to helping them achieve their full potential.