From Tracey Prall at Canine Connections Dog Training.
So we are all adjusting to a new routine now we are in lockdown and our dogs are having to adjust too…..limited exercise for our beloved canines means that they might be going just a little bit stir crazy (like us!) so I have put together some ideas for canine enrichment for your dog to do throughout the day. Thankfully the weather is with us at the moment so lots of garden time to do things but even if you don’t have a garden there will be some ideas for you to try here too!
1/ On your ‘daily walk’ incorporate some of your training exercises that you have trained your dog to do, so sit, lie down, practice your loose lead walking for two minutes then let your dog do some sniffing. You can also take a ‘special’ toy on your walks and keep that for playing with your dog at a certain point on the walk. Hide and seek is also a good game for your dog if they have a good recall.
2/ ‘Find the treats’. Endless options for this one 🙂
– take a cardboard box and fill it with lightly scrunched up newspaper that contain treats and let your dog enjoy snuffling/finding and eating all the treats.
-If you have a garden or even a small grassed area go outside and scatter some mild grated cheese or some drained flaked tuna. Then let your dog out and let them sniff and find all the goodies, it should keep them entertained for a while!
-Place a few treats in an empty toilet roll and twist the ends like a Christmas cracker, let your dog enjoy unwrapping it!
-If you have an old plastic bottle, cut a hole in the lid large enough to let treats out. Fill the bottle with treats and put the lid back on and let your dog spin the bottle eat the treats as they fly out.
3/ ‘The baking tray challenge’- if you have a spare baking tray and some tennis balls you can make your own interactive toy. Place a treat in each of the spaces on the baking tray and cover each one with a tennis ball. See if your dog can work out how to get the treats.
4/ ‘Hide and Seek’ in the house…..great to play with the kids and you could even practice your sit/down stay while you find a place to hide 🙂
5/ If you have Kongs you can fill them with a variety of lovely tasty things and freeze them. Very helpful for young dogs who are teething or just like to gnaw and chew. Check out this link for some brilliant recipes www.kongcompany.com/en-uk/recipes/
6/Snuffle mats and mind toys are great too but the above ideas all incorporate a similar idea but for minimal expense.
7/ ‘The three cup challenge’- have three beakers and put a treat in one of them ( make sure your dog sees) and turn the cups upside down. Give them the ‘ok’ and when he/she chooses the right beaker praise lots and let them have the treat. Keep practising until you can set the game up with your dog out of view and he/she can come in and indicate the right beaker.
8/A frozen carrot or ice cubes can be a great enrichment idea for some dogs.
9/ ‘Name the toy’- most dogs love playing with toys depending on what their breed is. See if you can name a particular toy as you throw it, repeat until the dog knows which one you asking it to fetch. (we have a toy called Pinky….and yes it is pink!!)
10/Finally, ‘Tricks’… lots of scope to practice new tricks with your dogs. Teach your pup to high five, spin, twist, wave hello, put their toys away:-) there are lots of online ideas you can try and I will be offering a trick challenge to all my customers in April.
Have fun, stay safe and if you need help or training advice please contact me. I am able to give online training via whatsapp, face time or zoom.
Our dogs are a great source of comfort and security at this time, make sure they get plenty of love from you.
Warm wishes , Tracey Prall.