As the 2012 Olympics open in London, many people are excited to watch the events. Many of our members live in or around London, and I can only imagine the buzz in the air. It may also be on our minds that now is a good time to start getting ourselves some exercise, too. Well, our dogs are positively itching to go outside for some nice walks or play time.
Many areas around the world have special events like Olympic games. You may have taken your cockapoo to one in the past or even recently. Here we will talk about the ideas for “Dog Olympic Events” that you and your friends can do with your dogs to get him the exercise he needs.
Agility is like an obstacle course for your dog. It can have anything from ramps for climbing, beams for balancing, tires for jumping through, and tunnels for crawling. A dog doing this in competition needs a lot of training time because he needs to be fast and can’t be given treats during competition. At home it is a different story. If you have a large back yard, dog park nearby, or even a Humane Society that allows you on the grounds, you can set up a small agility course for fun, or practice for competition! Trying out ramps, tunnels and jumps, your dog will learn obedience and trust. You may just have fun too.
Fly-ball is another competitive sport for dogs and their owners. This activity is more independently executed, with the dog running through an obstacle course and pushing a pad on a box to launch a ball, which they (hopefully) catch and then bring back through the course to their handler. This is for dogs who are very active and typically works well with dogs that are meant to do jobs, like herding dogs. That doesn’t mean your cockapoo can’t learn it, though! This dog sport is very popular and tournaments are held in many countries. At home, if you want to start preparing your dog for fly-ball, you can start with fetch. Get your pooch excited about retrieving and bringing a ball back to you, without running in circles around you. A good way to do this is with two or more fetch toys. Give your dog a treat when he drops the ball close to you. In this case, even if you don’t plan to do fly-ball, you will be getting your dog exercise for his body and brain.
Frisbee or Disc Toss is a game many dogs love and can be played for fun or competitively. Practice with your dog by playing fetch with whatever he is most interested in at first then work your way up to something like this . When teaching your dog to chase a Frisbee, keep it low at first so he can see where it goes and try to catch it in the air, As he gets better at it, you can throw farther and higher, and see how he does. Always praise your dog in play, to keep him wanting to play with you.
Obedience Training, while not usually competitive, can be exercise and good training for both you and your cockapoo. It is also the basis for all other training you can do with your pooch, including the games we discussed above. Teach your dog to heel, come, and stay, as well as many other important commands. You can check out our free Cockapoo Obedience Training Guide to quickly and easily teach these commands. Something to remember when obedience training is that most dogs are food oriented so will respond better with treats in training, but don’t overdo it. If your dog is overweight, but likes his kibble, use a bit of that as the treats. Also, if starting out for the first time with training, work on tricks for short bursts of time, to keep your dog interested.
These are just a few of the many fun and easy ways that you can give your pup an “Olympic” experience. As the week progresses, we will give some more ideas for things you might enjoy with your cockapoo.
Keep in mind that no matter what you do, an active dog is a happy and more relaxed dog!