Playing games with your dog or teaching them new tricks are great ways to keep them entertained and out of trouble. Dogs that just won’t stop digging are usually bored or frustrated, so mental stimulation is great for this and is also good bonding time between you and your pet.
After the various stages of lockdown that we have all experienced, being house bound for long periods of time can be stressful (or boring) for both you and your pet, especially if they are used to daily works out the yard, car rides and outings. On the other hand, if you pets are anything like Max and his friends that we know from the movie, The Secret Life of Pets, then being left at home is an adventure of its own. For the sake of the first scenario, we have put a list of games together to keep you and your pet stimulated, mentally and physically.
- The “which-hand” game
This is a great game for dogs who haven’t practiced nose work before. Simply take a small treat and place it in one of your closed hands, and have your dog take a sniff to pick which hand it is in.
- Scent work with hidden treats
Great with a bit of peanut butter, a favourite toy or anything else that is safe and smells good to your dog. Place three cups or containers upside down and hide the prize under one. Move them around and get your dog to use his nose to sniff out the prize.
- Train new tricks
Training new tricks like high fives, lying down or twirl is a great mental game. Take this time to also brush up on the basics such as sit, stay and lie down. Remember to be patient, kind and reward your dog both verbally and with a doggy treat.
The treasure hunt game that we all love is a fun way to keep dogs active indoors or in the garden. Get the excitement going while one person holds your dog or cue the sit-stay command while you hide. Call your dog softly and peep while you see him looking for you.
Tug of war games are enjoyed by owner and dog, strengthens your bond and helps build confidence. It is happily played with a rope or tug toy and a great game to use up excess energy. Best of all is that is doesn’t require a ton of space!
- Cupcake game
Take a cupcake baking tray and as many tennis size balls that you have. Place a treat randomly in a few of the cups with a ball over it, and place balls in the empty cups too. Let your dog sniff out and move the balls to find the hidden treats.
- Chasing bubbles
A simple way to keep your dog entertained and exercised. Most bubbles made for children are non-toxic and therefore safe for your pets too. It really is a load of fun for you and your dog.
What better than taking time to rekindle and strengthen the bond between you and your pets. Remember to always reward good behaviour verbally, affectionately or with a small treat. It is important to be patient and kind. If your dog takes longer than 5 tries to understand or do something correctly, move on and revisit the activity later to ensure they don’t lose interest. Most of all, remember to have fun and to give your pet their daily dose of Anima-Strath for wellness, concentration and more!