Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Canine Cabin Fever

It's the time of year here in Georgia where it rains a lot! Below are some ideas for keeping your canine content during inclement weather.

Canine Cabin Fever: Indoor Activities for the Rainy-Day Dog

1. Go Shopping! Go to a pet store, take your time meandering up and down each aisle so your dog can investigate all the products with his/her nose. You can practice lot’s “leave it” and “take it” and work on focus attention. While there, consider buying an interactive toy like a food puzzle or treat-dispensing ball.

2. Have a Spa Day at home! Bath, nail trim, haircut, etc.

3. If you have a retriever, play fetch inside the house with a soft and safe toy.

4. If you have a hound, play Hansel and Gretel! Hide treats all over the house for your dog to sniff out and find.

5. Play the Find It! game. You can’t go wrong when sniffing and food are involved.! Show your dog a piece of kibble or a tiny treat. Say “Find it!” and toss the food out on a rug. If your dog doesn’t quite get the idea of hunting outside the bowl, start her off by dropping the treat right in front of her. At each repetition, toss it farther and farther away. You can feed your dog entire meals by playing Find It!

6. Play the Muffin Tin game. Take a 6-muffin tin and put a treat in each cup. Place tennis balls in about half the cups. Once you dog has found the uncovered treats, s/he usually figures out that knocking away the tennis balls reveals more goodies! As your dog gains experience, you can start hiding treats under only some of the tennis balls and using a 12-muffin or 24-muffin tin.

7. Play the shell game or as some call it, three card Monty! Get three yogurt cups or disposable cups and punch a few holes in them. Hide a treat under one, spin them all around and line them up and have your dog sniff out the treat! In this game, nobody ever loses!

8. “Get Wild “and “Freeze”! game Start by dancing around and acting very excited till your dog gets going, too. After a minute or so, you all of a sudden stop moving! Ask your dog to sit, or down, or do another behavior s/he knows well. The moment s/he does it, start dancing around again; when your dog joins in, stop, ask for that sit or down again, and reward her by re-starting the party. .Mix things up by varying what behaviors you ask for and how long you wait before re-starting the game. If your dog is super-excitable and likely to mouth you start with a calmer version of “Get Wild” -- your dog’s introduction to this game can be “Take a Single Step and Freeze!” This game helps teach your dog self-control as s/he learns to respond to your cues even when excited. End the game clearly, by saying “All done!” and sitting down to relax and ask your dog to “settle”. If you say the same phrase every time, your dog will learn that it signifies the end of play for now.

9. Cardboard Box fun. Take a cardboard box and fill it with crumpled paper, then toss in some dry food and smelly treats. Choose a box whose size works well for your size dog--a shoebox might suit an old dog of any size who can’t clamber around as well or with a smaller dog. For large dogs a an egg crate box could be just right. You can make this game even more challenging! Take squares of wax paper and tightly wrap 4 or 5 pieces of dry food in each, like hard candy. Save clean plastic takeout containers and put a few pieces of food in each of those, then close the lid slightly. Empty cracker and cereal boxes work well too.

10. Hide and Seek! If your dog knows “wait”, ask him/her to wait in another room while you go and hide. Then, call your dog to you! When s/he finds you, give a treat and play again!

11. Get some puzzle toys like: The Buster Cube, The Brick, Spinner, etc. You can find a variety of them in pet supply stores and online.

12. Do some dog-friendly baking! There are many simple recipes for dog biscuits available online that don’t need a lot of specialty ingredients. One of my favorite recipe books is: The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook: Over 100 "Tail Wagging" Recipes.

13. Obstacle Course! Put your dog in the bathroom while you set up the treat obstacles around the house. Use boxes or overturned wastebaskets and create a variety of places for your dog to hunt for his treats. If you don’t have any boxes you can also use blankets or towels and let your dog rummage through them to find the treats.


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1 comment:

Donna L. Watkins said...

You have the best information on doggies! Go girl!