Well, it looks like Mr. Winter is here. If you find your canine companion(s) are not getting mental or physical exercise try some of these games to keep them busy.
1. Hide n Seek-non human version-
Put your dog in a stay or crate, take some plastic cups and place treats under them. Release your dog(he can watch the first time so he gets the idea). Repeat. As the dog gets better at finding the treats, put out more cups, changes rooms or start hiding the cups. Once the dog is able to identify the cups, try just hiding treats around the room or hide favorite toys.
Use a key word such as “find it”. You might have to teach the word, by tossing treats for the dog to find or pointing out the treat under the cup. If using a favorite toy, play a game of fetch or tug once they find the item then rehide the toy.
*use treats that are more visible or really “stinky”(like hot dog pieces, liver or fish) when teaching this game.
*dont chase the dog if he finds the toy, but trade it for a tasty food treat
2. Hide n Seek-the human version-
This can be done with 1 person(if the dog will do a short out of sight stay) or several family members. One person holds onto the dog and the other(s) hide(s) in another room. The dog is released with a “find Timmy(insert name)”. If the dog has problems finding Timmy(maybe he’s in the well), have Timmy call out for the dog. Once the dog finds Timmy, the “found” handler gives several tasty treats , strokes the dog, or plays a game of fetch or tug.
*Try to stop the game before the dog loses interest. This may vary depending on the age and activity level of your pet.
* If the dog loses interest and does not come when called, stop the game immediately and DO NOT reward the dog with attention or treats for lack of interest or effort
Rally Obedience is a fun interactive sport for your dog. Using pre-made signs, you and your dog follow a course composed of 12-18 obedience command such as circles, pivots, jumps and heeling. This is a great activity for older dogs and young dogs as you can talk to your dog throughout the course and is low impact activity. The various signs and rules can be found on the AKC website at www.akc.org.
Many of these exercises can be performed in your hallways and living rooms.
Tug of War-
Another fun, energy expending game is tugging with your dog. See article for instructions. play tug game
** Use portions of their breakfast and dinner or decrease portions if using treats so as not to put on extra weight during the winter months