Are you feeling cooped up and going stir crazy because you can’t get out and exercise your dog with all the rain or maybe you live where it’s really cold. Fear not there is hope. There are a lot of things you can do with your dog to pacify the time and wear your dog out mentally until you can get back outside. Here are a few ideas that will help.
- Food Toys- You can use these to either feed them their daily meals out of if using dry kibble or you can also just put treats in them. There are so many different food dispensing toys, but to name a few:
- Playing Hide/Seek- You can hide somewhere in your house such as a closet, behind the door, etc. Call your dog and let him/her come find you. Be sure to praise them for doing so. This is also a great way to teach them a recall. As they get better at it you can step it up making it harder but for dogs who are new at this keep it simple in the beginning.
- Teaching New Behaviors- You can teach them a new behavior such as:
- TOUCH: This is where you can teach your dog to touch his nose to the palm of your hand or to a sticky note. This is a useful behavior in many ways. If using a sticky note you can move it around eventually to things such as a light switch providing your dog can reach it and teach him to turn the light on and off. It can also be used as a recall getting your dog to come to you wherever he’s at.
- SHAKE: Teach your dog how to shake hands
- ROLLOVER: You can teach your dog how to rollover
- Scent Games- Teach your dog how to use his nose by finding a treat from a box. Start by having 3-5 boxes with out closing them up. You could fold in the edges. Have a really smelly treat making sure you use the same kind each time you play. When your dog can’t see you toss a few in one of the boxes. Pretend to toss some in the other boxes but really your only outing scent and not the actual treat in the other ones. Tell your dog to find it. Once he finds the treats toss another treat or two in to reward him for finding it. When he begins to get the hang of it move the boxes around eventually turning them on their side with the opening facing away making it more difficult. You may need to put your dog in another room while setting it up. For some dogs you may have to teach them find it first or if they are nervous with putting their head in a box get them adjusted to that as well. Here is a great video to show you how. K9 Noseworks
Whatever you wind up doing with your dog just make it fun for both of you.