As we head into winter, Maryland days get colder and shorter. With weather like this, chances are you and your pet will be spending more and more time indoors.
This winter, think about ways to keep your dog thinking and moving inside. Stimulation through a variety of exercises will will help keep him or her happy through these dark and cold winter months.
Indoor exercises can be as simple or as complicated as you and your pet wish. Here are some simple ideas from a previous post that are worth revisiting:
Puzzle toys – Fill a toy with treats for your dog. Some toys require the dog to work to get the items out while others dispense them as they roll around. These toys come in various shapes and sizes, and some can even be frozen to make your dog work harder
Find the Treat – What dog doesn’t love a treat!? Searching for treats is highly enjoyable for dogs since it feeds a dog’s natural desire to hunt. You will see how keen your dog’s sense of smell is when he sniffs around for the treats you hide! The way to teach your dog this game is to show him a treat and then show him how where you are hiding it. Make sure it is an accessible place like beneath a piece of of furniture or under the corner of a rug. Encourage your dog to get the treat. For the next treat, hide it without showing him where you put it and then encourage our dog to get the treat. It may take a few tries, but with such a delicious reward, your dog will catch on in no time!
Hide and Seek – You may think this is just a game for kids, but your four legged friend will love playing hide and seek with you. To begin, start by hiding around a corner. Your dog will likely follow shortly and you can playfully jump out and say “Here I am!”. If there is another family member around, have someone hold the dog, while you hide somewhere else. Then call his name from the other room. Your dog will begin excitingly looking for you. When he finds you cheerfully say “here I am!” again and give him lots of praise.
Memory game – This is is a great game that helps enforce the sit and stay command. While your dog is an the stay position, let him see you hide several treats around the room. Then tell him to come find the treats. After he has mastered this, make it more challenging by letting him see you hide the treats, and then take him into another room. Distract him, for a few minutes. Then bring him back into the room with the hidden treats to see if he remembers where all the treats are!
Roll the Ball – Use a ball that won’t pop (basketball, soccer ball). Get down on your hands and knees and push the ball, then have your dog push the ball. Once your dog figures out how to push the ball, have him push the ball to you.
Kibble Hunt – It is likely, that when you feed your dog, his bowl is empty very quickly after he starts eating! Make meal time more challenging by placing small piles of kibble throughout the house. Begin by making the kibble easy to find. And if your dog catches on quickly – make the piles a little more difficult to find!