With cold weather and our occupations, it can be difficult to go out as long as we wish with our dog. In the winter time, we are less active and our dog can develop disturbing behaviors. Often the solution is not to change the behavior, but rather the environment of the animal by creating a rich environment. Let me suggest you to the best activities to entertain your companion.
Ideas for food activities
Eating is already an activity that your dog should usually do twice a day. The common mistake is to buy a metal dish and simply pour the kibble into it. This type of bowl is suitable for drinking water, but is very annoying for your dog.
I always recommend to encouraging your dog to play while eating! There is a variety of ways to feed your dog. Slow feeder bowls are the simplest and fastest example. It is a fixed bowl on the floor, but with shapes and compartments that encourages the animal to seek his food.
Ideas for masticatory activities
If you have a dog that destroys his toys, masticatory activity is definitely interesting to confirm the real usefulness of a toy. Destructive dogs are often simply lacking masticatory activity and suddenly attack toys that are allowed.
Masticatory activity allows a dog to use his jaw for mastication. Natural or enzymatic rawhide sold at your veterinary clinic are excellent sources of chewing. Using toys that contain rewards inside will also encourage your dog to chew but avoiding the destruction of the object.
Also the “tug of war” is a good way to satisfy the masticatory need by making sure the toy remains unscathed, because you are at the other end of the “tug”. You can teach your dog to release the “tug” on demand and thus being able to let go and chew upon request.
Just pull and move horizontally while your dog holds his tip. For your dog to let go you just have to stop pulling and put the “tug” between your legs and wait. Your dog will pull to drive you to play again and after a short period of time he will simply drop the toy and at that very moment say “Loose” or any word of your choice. All you have to do is repeat in small sessions of 3 to 5 minutes.
Fun games Inside
Playing is fun, but it is important that you be a part of this activity. I always recommend to do at least 3 periods of playtime per day of about ten minutes each. Even if you play outside, you can create fun inside playtime.
You can play classic games like throwing a toy or bickering. You can also play the hide and seek with your dog and encourage at the same time the “recall” command. The games where you hide the toys with a small reward inside are very stimulating for the sense of smell of your dog.
You might as well teach your dog how to put away his toys. If your dog knows how to “bring back” and “give” his toys, learning will be a breeze.
- Take your dog’s toy basket.
- Throw him a toy for he brings back to you (you can also tell him to take a toy if he knows the request)
- Hold the toy basket in your hands next to you.
- When your dog brings back the toy, simply ask him to put it in the basket instead of your hands.
- Use a new word like “basket” or “put away”.
- Repeat with different types of toys and increase the number of toys to bring back.
- Soon, you will be able to leave the basket in its place and simply tell your dog to “put away” his toys.
Lastly, activity is a routine that must be developed inside to allow your dog to have stimulating occupations that allow him to use his intellectual side. An intelligent and amused dog is a happy dog.