It’s Day Five of lockdown and we’re certain that you aren’t the only one who is starting to feel a bit stir-crazy! Help your pooch keep their best paw forward with these lovely little mind-bending exercises that will help Fido stay sharp!
Check back in a few days for more activities you can do at home with your dog during lockdown.
Hide and Seek
Have a family member hold on to your dog while you (and the rest of your household) run off to hide. Call the dog’s name. When he finds you, make a big fuss over your heroic search-and-rescue dog as he recovers everyone from their hiding places! When you first play this, don’t hide yourself too well or he may give up. As he gets better at the game you can go farther away and make it harder for him to find you.
Forage for Food
Let your dog channel his inner wild beast by scavenging for dinner instead of eating another meal out of a boring bowl. Measure out a meal’s worth of pellets, then scatter it around your garden or lounge. Another fun game is wrapping his pellets in a blanket or towel – he’ll be entertained for ages trying to unwrap and find all his pellets!
The Cup Game
Put a treat on the ground and place an upside-down plastic cup over it. Once your pooch figures out how to knock the plastic cup over to get to the treat, you can make the game a little harder by adding more plastic cups. Add another cup or two and hide a treat under one of the cups. Move the cups around each other while your dog watches the movements. Then see if he can find (or sniff out) the cup containing the treat.
Make-Do Agility Course
Channel your inner MacGyver and construct a doggie obstacle course in your garden or living room. Use your creativity to construct your temporary agility course, you can make:
- jumps out of broomsticks, pool noodles or stacked up toilet-paper rolls
- a tunnel by draping blankets over a line of chairs
- a tire jump by duct-taping a hula hoop between a pair of chairs
- a weave obstacle by setting up buckets in a line.
Before testing your hound on the whole course, teach him how to perform each obstacle individually using lure/reward training: stick a treat in front of his nose, and lure him through or over the obstacle a few times. Then fade the lure out by getting the treat out of your hand, but making the same hand motion. Have him follow your treat-less hand through the obstacle, then reward him with a treat at the end out of your other hand. Got small children? Indoor agility courses are also great for wearing out stir-crazy human puppies!
Turn Dinner Into Doggy School
Ditch the bowl and use your dog’s meal to brush up on some basic obedience training: sit, down, come, give paw, trade, roll-over, take it/leave it, back it up, wait at the door, go to your place, speak (and be quiet). The best new is, you can teach an old dog new tricks!