Every morning, Donut
, my 3-year-old beardie mix and I spend 20-30 minutes running around off leash in a big field before we proceed on our morning walk. She does a lot of sniffing and rolling in the grass, chases sticks, and generally gallivants. I think this unstructured dog time is really good for her and is definitely the highlight of her day.
Sometimes we play a game where I put her in a sit-stay, walk or run away, then call her. She ecstatically bounds towards me and gets rewarded. If my husband is with me, we play “Donut Ping-Pong,” where we stand 50-100 yards apart and take turns calling her and rewarding her when she arrives. These games are great because they keep her moving, tire her out mentally (seriously, even tasks this simple require concentration for her) and reinforce her recall skills. I want to come up with some other games we can play outside that will similarly make her think hard, reinforce some obedience-related skill, and add some variety to our play time.
Details that may be important:
-Donut is smart and trainable when she wants to be, but especially in a fun complex-smelling environment like the field, if I try to teach her something too difficult, she’ll just wander off and sniff things instead.
-Her recall is pretty good. Obeying other commands from a distance is not so good. If you have ideas of how to teach that, I’d love to hear them.
-She’s clicker-trained and I carry lots of high-value treats at all times, so any behavior that can be shaped is good.
-I’d prefer things that are low-equipment. Something I can carry in my pocket is fine, but I’m not going to be hauling an A-frame outside every day.
-That said, I do want to try agility with her sometime. Are there preparatory exercises that would increase her likelihood of success in an agility class?
Thanks for your help!