A Dog’s Favorite Place: The Park (Part 2)

Dogs in park

City parks have some wonderful challenges for training if you use your imagination.

For example, look and find an empty trash bin in the park, tip it over on its side and teach your pup to jump over it. Start a few feet from the trash bin and run toward it while holding the motivator close to his nose so he will follow it. When he approaches the bin, use the hand in collar technique (place your fingers between his neck and collar with your fingers pointing up), lift him forward and say “Hup,” as he climbs over the bin. After he has gone over the garbage bin, circle around and make him climb over from the other side and place him in a sit. Do this a few times so he is comfortable with this maneuver. With continued practice, he will eventually make a clean jump over the bin. Smaller or less agile dogs will only be able to climb over it.

If he is shy about going over the bin, then place him on top of it so he will feel comfortable touching the garbage bin with his paws. With your right hand holding the motivator, lead him downward to come off the garbage bin. Repeat this pattern a few times to build his confidence level. After a few repetitions, your pup will feel comfortable climbing over the garbage bin.

Large boulder-like rocks can often be found in many parks. While walking your dog, teach him to jump on the rock. Again, you will need a motivator to get him to jump up there. Put him in a Sit-Stay or Stand-Stay position. This is a good exercise because it gives him a job to do – it keeps him from moving any further during a walk, especially through congested cross paths.

Park benches are also a great training tool. Teach your dog to jump over a bench using the same method as making him jump over a garbage bin. You can also teach him to crawl under a park bench. And you can train him to sit every time you approach a park bench with someone sitting on it. This teaches him not to pull toward strangers in the park.

A park is a good place to practice the hide and seek game with a whistle. Have your friend hold your puppy back while you run and hide behind a tree or some bushes and whistle for your dog. This exercise will get your puppy to pay more attention to you as he panics and tries to find you. This game is great because you are setting the foundation for him to come to you whenever you whistle. In all of these exercises, you are using the natural environment of the park as an agility course for your dog.