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5 min read

5 Fun Training Sessions to Get Your Dog Active This Spring


By Leslie Ingraham

Published: 04/18/2022, edited: 02/28/2023

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Spring is here, and it’s time to get out and enjoy the budding trees and flowers. It’s also time to get your fur baby outdoors after a long winter next to the fire! Whether your pooch is a terrier who needs to run and jump, or a bloodhound who likes nothing better than a determined nose-to-the-ground hunt, there’s outdoor fun awaiting!  

Training may sound like hard, boring, repetitive work, but to your doggo, it can be pure fun. The benefits of training include building trust and strengthening the bond between you while incorporating healthy exercise and anxiety relief into fur-tastic games. There are so many ways to transform training into playtime. Let’s take a look at 5 fun training sessions to get the spring back into your dog's step!

dog retrieving red ball underwater - 5 Fun Training Sessions to Get Your Dog Active This Spring

Teach your pup how to dock dive!

Difficulty level: Easy
Time to master: 2-4 weeks

If your pupster loves the water and retrieving their favorite toys and balls, teaching them dock diving will be a barking good time for everyone! North American Diving Dogs (NADD) holds many of their regional and national championship events at AKC meets. Many of their competitions are filmed and televised, so check TV listings for when and where to tune in for the lively splash action, or visit their website for live events. Your fur baby doesn’t have to be a competitive water dog to enjoy this activity- they just need enough stamina to jump off a dock, retrieve a toy, and swim back to the dock. 

All you will need to engage your best buddy in this fun sport is:

  • A place to teach, like a lake or large pool
  • A dock or diving board fitted with steps or a ramp to get out of the water
  • A toy for the pupster to retrieve
  • A doggy towel to dry them after their final jump

If your dog tries to swim away with their prize, a few on-land lessons in basic retrieving may help. Once they get used to jumping from a dock, your pooch won’t want to quit! Be aware you might get wet, too!

dog looking at fence while playing hide and seek

Play hide and seek

Difficulty level: Easy
Time to master: 5 - 7 days

The game of hide and seek is as familiar as an old sock, and dogs love it as much as we do! One of their fur-vorite games is to find their mom, dad, or human siblings, and when they do, jump all over them while covering them with kisses. Playing inside the house is fun, but with warm weather and sunny skies approaching, it’s time to move the fun outdoors! One of the basic skills this activity helps teach a doggo is to come when called, even if you’re far away and up a tree! Your pup will find you by following your scent through a field or woods, or even just the backyard. 

What you'll need for this fun game:

  • Places to hide
  • Treats for your pup
  • You

To start, leave your dog with a friend or relative where they can't see you, and walk away, meandering and zigzagging to give them a challenge. When you’ve gone far enough, hide and call your pup. Then watch as your fur-baby enthusiastically and intently traces your steps and notices your smell on items you brushed against. Imagine their joy and yours when they find you! It’s best to start out by hiding close by, lengthening the distance between you as Fido becomes more confident. 

small, cream dog jumping over a pole - 5 fun training sessions to get your dog active this spring

Try agility jumping

Difficulty level: Medium
Time to master: 1 - 6 weeks

Agility training is a super way to mix fun with training!  There are different types of agility skills like pole weaving and tunnel running, but one of the simplest and easiest to train is agility jumping. Most dogs jump over things naturally, but before starting, it’s impaw-tant to check with your veterinarian to be sure it's safe for your pooch. Long-bodied dogs and dogs with very short legs may not be cut out for it.

Jumping can be started inside on showery days and moved outside when the weather’s fine. It’s best to start out small and move up as your fur baby gains strength and confidence. It also helps for Fido to have a few basic obedience skills under their belt, like Sit and Come. 

You’ll need a few items to teach agility jumping, including:

  • A lightweight bar – a broom or curtain rod will work
  • Two objects to rest the bar on, like stacks of books or low boxes 
  • A 6 to 12-foot lightweight leash
  • Rewards, like treats or a favorite toy
  • Poles, short fencing, or other material to provide guide walls so the pup isn’t tempted to veer off before the jump

If you’re starting this training in the house, position a piece of rug or other non-slip material over bare floors to avoid injury. Start out with the pole about four inches off the ground for small dogs, and six inches for larger pups. Entice your pet to step over the pole for a treat. Jumping comes next, and soon they'll be flying through the air!

chocolate labrador retriever puppy looking for object in grass

Go find it!

Difficulty level: Medium
Time to master: 1 - 4 weeks

Finding things is what dogs do! They have noses that are believed to be over 100,000 times more sensitive than human noses, and they can detect a spoonful of sugar in the equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools. And it’s been shown that they can learn to use their noses to detect traces of accelerants in cases of arson, drugs, and even some diseases – just by sniffing!

So, it should be no surprise that they'll love learning to find everyday objects with their noses! While other senses like sight and remembering an object even if they can’t see it (called object permanence) may factor into the game, the nose knows! All you'll need is:

  • An object with a scent
  • Treats
  • A way to keep them from following you when you hide the object (like an assistant or a leash attached to a doorknob)

Start out with an object they’re familiar with like a baseball cap with your scent on it, or a favorite toy. Let them sniff it, then put it somewhere in plain view. Create a command like “Get it,” or “Get the <object>” and praise them enthusiastically when they go right to it and pick it up. Progress to moving the object further and further away, and in no time, your fur buddy will have the game down and you vary it up in several ways.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly they can find lost objects, like your gloves, car keys, or their leash just because they smell familiar! Just remember to be lavish with the treats and praise until it becomes second nature!

German shepherd with football on lawn

Play football

Difficulty level: Medium
Time to master: 3 - 14 days

Football is one of Americans' favorite sports. Whether the football is kicked or carried into the end zone, the game requires a lot of running around, grabbing and carrying the ball, or just using your feet to kick it. Football with your pup is a fur-tastic game for doggo fun, especially if Fido gets to play with you and your pals! And it’s easy to teach!

You’ll need only two things to get started:

  • A football (with a reserve in case one is punctured by canine teeth)
  • A yard or field big enough to run around in

Familiarize your pup with the ball by letting them play with it or lick it. Move on to gentle play, start rolling and moving it, and so on by building on each step. As they gain confidence, they'll soon be running across the field to retrieve it! If your fur baby is big enough to carry the ball in their mouth, this will add more fun to the game, unless they decide to play keep-away. They’ll think this is hilarious and fun, especially if you chase them! They may even be able to play keep-away with just their feet and noses. A few simple commands like Stop and Drop It might be helpful to keep the game moving.

Football with dogs typically involves lots of shouting and laughing, and is guaranteed to be fun for all. 

Dogs don’t see training as work, so why should you? You can have fun with it, too! If you make training enjoyable, your pup will come running every time!

Want a helping paw teaching your pup some commands? Book an in-home dog training session with Wag! today!

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.