For a lot of dogs just running around the park burning off energy is not enough since they need mental stimulation as well as physical stimulation. You can greatly improve the quality of your dog’s walks by getting him to use his brain. This is especially important for breeds with limitless energy like Border Collies, working Cocker Spaniels, and Terriers.
When I go out to a park in Brighton & Hove I’m always on the lookout for activities to keep a dog’s body and mind active. This is how I coined the term “Urban Agility”.
Urban Agility utilises anything available in the dog’s environment to keep him physically and mentally stimulated. This could involve jumping on or over things, commando crawling under things, balancing on things, and weaving around things. This park environment is often packed with obstacles to utilise including benches, posts, tree trunks, and logs.
Activities that allow a dog to slow down and understand what his body is doing are particularly useful. Working slowly utilises proprioception, the feedback mechanism in which a dog understands where his body is in space.
Urban Agility utilises ideas from Yoga and TTouch where balance, flexability, movement, and changing position can present a real challenge for an active dog who is just used to running around at full speed. Working slowly allows your dog to stop and think about what their body is doing and increses self-awareness and self-confience. Working this way can also be a great trust building exercise helping strengthen your bond with your dog.
A dog who uses his brain will have an enriched life. A sleepy and content dog at the end of the day is an added bonus!
Urban Agility session can be conducted with you and your dog in your local park. I also offer Urban Agility as a Groundwork Training service where I work with your dog for you.