With all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the new guidelines set out by the government on how much time we can spend outside, it certainly is a frustrating time for all. We can only imagine how confusing it must be for our furry-friends to have their owners at home for longer periods than usual, especially if they’re not used to having so much company throughout the day.
Now that the UK is in lockdown, you may be left wondering how to maintain your dog’s daily exercise routine with people being told to only take one form of exercise a day. This takes into account dog walking, however, households with two or more members can each take the dog for a walk to ensure the dog gets plenty of exercise.
If you can only take your dog for one walk a day, or perhaps you want to find new creative ways to exercise your pooch, a mini obstacle course in the garden can be a great way to keep them entertained. In this post, we look at items you may have lying around the home that can be used to help create your very own dog obstacle course in your garden or backyard.
Start easy and remember to be patient with your dog; this should be a fun experience for you both while maintaining exercise and learning new tricks! Also, ensure you have enough space to set up each obstacle and for your dog to run around in a safe area.
To create a jumping obstacle, you can use laundry baskets, PVC pipe/curtain rod or a hula hoop. This is an easy trick to start with and a fun way of ensuring your doggo is getting the daily exercise he/she needs. The aim of this activity is simple - to get your pooch making small jumps.
Simply place your laundry baskets on the ground and position the PVC pipe/curtain rod in between each basket, at a reasonable height that your dog can jump over. This can be altered as your dog gets used to it. If you’re using a hula hoop, hold it at your desired height allowing the dog to easily jump through.
Creating tunnels at home is simple - you can use cardboard boxes or a child’s play tunnel if you have one. Make sure it’s sturdy but flexible enough for your dog to run through. While your four-legged friend may need some encouragement with this obstacle as it can be pretty scary at first, once they get used to charging through the tunnels, you might struggle to get them out!
Place some treats at the start, middle and end of the tunnel and don’t forget to be positive with your verbal commands so your dog understands what you want them to do. If you need to, go through the tunnel yourself or crawl alongside it to show your dog how it’s done.
Setting up a weaving obstacle can be done using small cones used for football practice, or you could use some PVC pipe to create several poles. The poles need to be secure enough so they don’t fall over.
Don’t place the cones or pipes too close together or too far apart - the recommended distance between each is around 2ft. Have your dog walk slowly through the obstacle to get used to it and reward them with a treat when they have finished. If your dog has trouble navigating the obstacle, train them by walking through it using their lead to guide them.
Ensuring your dog has plenty of fun and exercise during what can be a stressful and confusing time is vitally important. While these are just three examples of how you can make your own DIY dog obstacle course using household items, coming up with your own creative obstacles will not only keep your dog entertained, but it might also keep you occupied too!