Now that the weather is cold and damp, it’s not always possible to take your precious pup to the dog park for a much-needed session of physical exercise. With this in mind, there are a few things that you can easily implement in the home that will make your dog’s time indoors a bit more entertaining and potentially tiring.
There are some breeds that need constant stimulation, so it’s really worth looking at what motivates your dog to figure out what will best hold their attention. Louise Glazebrook, a dog trainer and behavior expert, offers us her top tips for a happy hound.
Keeping Your Dog Active
- If you have a really energetic dog who needs to let off some steam, spend some time — ideally with two of you — where you plant yourself in different spots in the house and call your dog back and forth. It’s great recall practice and an easy way to burn some energy. You can do it up and down the stairs, with one of you in the garden and the other one by the front door. Keep changing your locations so that it remains interesting for your dog.
- Most butchers will sell you fresh meaty marrow bones. If you have a great and friendly butcher ask them to cut the bone in half lengthways. It should look like a long length of white bone with a hollow middle. If your dog is food-motivated or loves to chew, then clean the bone, fill it with a decent wet food, pat it down, and compact it. Then pop it in a zip lock bag and freeze it. Once frozen, give it to your dog either outside or on a tiled surface, as it will be messy.
- Should you own dogs that loves nothing better than to use its powerful nose, it’s worth creating a game where they can put it to use. One idea is to put your dog either outside of the room and shut the door. If your dog will do a sit and wait then you can leave them in the room with you. Take six of the same items such as paper cups, flower pots, buckets, cushions — whatever you have on hand. Then, place a treat under one of the items. Release your dog or let him back in the room and allow him to search for it. Encourage him by prodding the items, and he will be rewarded when he finds it himself. Repeat as many times as your dog will play the game.
With any kind of game it has to be rewarding for your dog, otherwise you will lose interest very quickly. Make sure you praise your dog with your voice and petting if they need encouragement. And if they find what is suggested above too hard or are of a nervous disposition, make your games easier and slowly increase the difficulty.
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