Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Well the cold snap is back again, and there are lots of times in the extreme cold that we do not want to take our dogs out long. So what do do about exercise?
There are many different ways to keep your dog active over the winter months, indoors, large or small.
Number one is practice the training you have started with your dog - set aside 10-20 minutes and go over your sits, downs, stays, comes and heeling. Work on perfecting it under low distraction in your home. When you work your dogs mind alongside their body, they use more energy, feel more satisfied, and I always note that when you do "mind work" in addition to body work, the dogs get way more of a workout.
Number two, teach your dog some new commands and/or tricks. Anything they can learn, no matter how silly it may seem, will benefit your canine companion in both the communication and brain work department. Use their meals as the perfect time to teach new things - get them working for their supper!
Number three, and an awesome one I play frequently, teach your dog to "find". This is a great game if you don't have an area to play fetch in your house. The dog can be either toy or food motivated. Start by having someone hold the dog , or put them in a sit stay, and hide a toy as they watch. Upon release, tell them to "find it". Repeat this process multiple times until the dog catches on to the meaning of the command. Once they do, have them stay or be held in another room or out of view. Hide the toy or treat, go back to them, release and tell them to "find it". You can help if they get stumped. This is a great game for both mind and body work, and fun, fun, fun for drivey dogs.
Number four, if you have the space for fetch, bows the time to teach them in a controlled setting to "fetch" and "give". If your dog isn't a natural fetcher, start on leash . With this game, and with the below game, your dog needs to be taught a proper "give " or "drop it".
And number five, tug! Yes, I said it, and don't believe those that would refrain from having your dog play tug. It's a great game, and can be used to teach self control. Rules need to be implemented, and as above, your dog needs to be taught a solid "give" or "out" before fully engaging, and they should be able to show some self control without re-biting when you've paused. Patience is key, you can work the trade off (tug for treat or other toy), when teaching "give", or you can work the statue (hold very still, with tug against your body, hands on both sides, wait for release, then reward). Key is to be fun while engaging and calm when teaching the "give". This game still offers both mind and body work, gets the heart rate up, and you can throw some obedience or tricks into the game.
There are other ways to keep your dog active is the freezing whether, but these are our favourites that we wanted to share.
Most importantly, Have fun with your dogs!!
Thursday, January 8, 2015
We're a little late on this, since the original post did not take, but we would like to take a moment to wish everyone all the best over the Holiday Season, no matter what you celebrate! We hope that you had a safe, joyful, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!!