With all the business closures happening, you’re probably in the same boat as many other pup parents- you’re hanging out with your energetic pup at home all day! How can you tire out your pup if they’re unable to go on that scheduled hike with their walker? The answer is more simple than you might think… Brain games!
The best thing about many of these indoor games is they can be done easily with items you may already have at home!
Engaging your pup’s natural instincts like smelling, searching, and investigating does a lot to tire them out! It takes energy for their brain to use problem-solving skills. By combining this sort of mental exercise with light physical activity, they’re staying active, gaining confidence, and tiring them out!
Do you have a dog like mine who absolutely HATES any tools related to grooming? Dogmantics trainer Emily Larlham (Kikopup on Youtube) has developed a very clever game to introduce grooming tools to your pup in a much more fun and stress-free way, while also practicing their recall! It’s a wonderful way to introduce your pup to a new tool, because they’re learning to approach the tool, rather than seeing something strange come toward them while they’re being forced to stay still.
Emily also has a fantastic playlist of simple tricks to teach your dog. Tricks are more than just cute and fun things for your dog to learn! By teaching a dog various tricks they’re using those same problem-solving skills trying to figure out what you want and what’s earning them those good snacks! The physical aspect of many of these tricks also helps keep your pups moving!
Other tips to keep a dog from getting bored:
How big is your dog’s toy basket? How many of them does your dog currently play with? For all you pup-parents who’ve bought your dog a ton of toys, you’re actually perfectly set up for this next tip!
Try cycling through your dog’s toys! The first thing you do is take the basket full of toys and hide it. Then, every few days, take one or two different toys out of the basket at a time for playtime. It’ll bring back a little bit of novelty in their well-loved toys, and also give you some big bonus points as the human who brings out the new fun thing! Be sure to exchange the previous toys with tne “new” ones. Repeat until you go through the whole basket, and start again!
Make meal-time take more time! I personally feed my dog with the basic rubber Kong. If I freeze it overnight, it lasts even longer! This also doubles as encouraging calm behavior. Because they have to lie down, they’re being self-rewarded: the more they chew and work at the Kong, the more food is released! This helps loads in crate training, as well!
Enjoy this time with your pup! They’re probably loving every minute of it!
-Angie, Training Director