Enliven walking with games
For our dogs, walking is much more than just an opportunity to run out into the fresh air and pee on the nearest pole. It is a time to stretch their paws and their whole body, to exercise their natural instincts and senses, and last but not least, it is time spent together with us. When we walk, we form a team and move through the space together. We can enhance this activity together - with simple games that encourage condition, obedience, or recall, keep your dog's head busy and keep us entertained together.
You do not have to invent any complicated activities. Just start with a simple search. Take with you some treats that your dog loves and that smell good to him. Let him sit on the grass and then hide the treat. Ideally, use plants. Remember that even dogs know their way around by sight. Therefore, hide the treat well so that the dog uses his muzzle to find it. Then give the dog the release command (for example, “search”).
Up & down, back & forth
Play dog parkour. Make use of the terrain and let your dog jump on a bench or low walls, jump over stumps or even go around trees on command. Canine athletes who have tried agility will have a faster start. But even dogs with no previous experience can be taught individual tasks easily. Reward with treats or toys and remember to make sure that the dog only jumps on the walls on command so that he doesn't hurt himself.
If you walk your dog together with another biped, you can reinforce the recall command together. You will need treats (or whatever else is the greatest reward for your dog). Stand back and call the recall command. When your dog comes running, reward him properly. For example, you can grab the dog's collar or harness while you are rewarding him with treats so that he gets used to the idea that this movement is okay and doesn't run away. As soon as you have finished rewarding, the other person will call out to the dog and recall him. This can be practiced also in a group of people changing the roles. Good reward and enthusiasm is the key. Running away from the dog can also be added. However, do not train in a challenging environment. Start, for example, in the garden or a quiet park.
Here I am!
With a simple game you can also strengthen the dog's attention. The moment the dog sniffs or does not pay attention to you, call his name, and throw him a treat. You can also add a command like take or catch. Again, start in a simple environment. And finally, you can use the game when you need to turn the dog's attention to yourself.
You can also take out commands you know from your trainer or from the dog training ground. For example, practice the command stay or run several times in a row. Let your dog train in a place he's not used to. For instance on an outdoor table where he will have to sit or lie down. Or practise handling that will come in handy in the vet's office. Always start from the simplest commands and circumstances to the complex ones and remember: praise, reward and enjoy the time spent together.