Now that the weather is getting colder and rainier, playing outside with your pup isn’t always fun! Tough and/or interactive toys, puzzles, short training sessions, and indoor games can help keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated through the long New England winters. Here are a few ideas to help keep your pup entertained this winter.
Play ‘find the treat’
To play all you’ll need to do is get some delicious (and preferably aromatic treats) and have your dog watch in a stay position as you place them around the room. Give your dog the cue to “find the treats” and encourage your pup to pick them up, remembering to praise them every time they find one.
After you’re confident that your dog understands what “find the treats” means you can begin making it a bit more challenging. Have them stay in another room as you hide the treats, and start hiding them in spots they have to sniff out such as under a rug. Practice short training sessions Training your dog provides great mental stimulation.
Using positive reinforcement, go over all the commands you’ve taught them previously, or introduce a new one. Whether you’re just starting out with obedience or your dog is a seasoned pro, it’s useful to spend at least 5-10 minutes on training every day, to ensure all commands are well cemented in your dog’s mind, and they can always recall the correct behavior when needed.
Try a treat-dispensing toy
If you’re working from home and want to keep your dog busy for a while, try using an interactive treat dispensing toy. Not only will it increase problem-solving skills, but it will also promote activity and alleviate boredom.
Try a dog puzzle
We all know dogs are intelligent, so it should come as no surprise that they love games that require a little bit of problem-solving. There are all kinds of dog puzzles that provide all sorts of benefits such as increased mental capacity, a longer attention span, and better behavior overall. Give your pup a tough/long-lasting toy or bone filled with treats.
A favorite go-to dog toy is the Kong Classic filled with kibble or treats, mixed with peanut butter and/or pumpkin (for pups on diets, sliced carrots can be a healthy low-calorie substitute). Once the Kong is filled, it can then be frozen to provide your pup with long-lasting fun! For a list of other great boredom-beating toys, check out dog toy advisor’s list of top ten toys to keep dogs busy.
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