Archive for January 13, 2011

Banish Bad-weather Boredom!

With the weather being so lousy in New England this time of year, it’s often a challenge to come up with activities that keep my two busy.  Here are just a few suggestions for you to try if you find yourself with a bored pooch.

FOOD DISPENSING TOYS

Instead of offering your dog their daily meal in a bowl, make your dog work for it.  Offer it to him in a food dispensing toy like a Kong Wobbler.  Other fun food dispensers that we enjoy are the Tug a jug, Buster Cube, Kibble Nibble and Twist ‘n Treat.

An easy homemade food dispenser can be as simple as a paper towel tube full of kibble and pushed closed at both ends.  Or try an empty soda bottle or milk jug.  You’d be surprised how much of a challenge it can be for them to figure out how to get that kibble out of that spout!

INTERACTIVE DOG TOYS

Interactive dog toys are slightly more advanced than simple food dispensers.  There are many wonderful interactive dog toys that are designed to stimulate a dogs brain.  Nina Ottosson’s “Brick” is of our favorites.

You can make your own interactive toys with a muffin tin and some paper cups or tennis balls. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy!   We sometimes put several condiment cups on the kitchen floor with kibble under them.   We call it doggy hockey!  :)

If your dog is allowed to have stuffed toys, some really fun interactive toys are Kyjen’s Hide-a-Bee, Hide-a-Squirrel and Egg Babies.

NOSEWORK

Nosework is designed to develop your dog’s natural scenting abilities by using their desire to hunt and their love of toys, food and exercise.  It’s a great way for your dog to have fun, build confidence, and burn lots of mental and physical energy. The Dog Training Secret offers a great explanation of how to get your dog started in nosework as well as some more advanced nosework suggestions.

Here are some great videos demonstrating some nosework games:

TEACH YOUR DOG A NEW TRICK!

Janet Wall’s How to Love Your Dog offers many great videos showing you how to teach your dog everything from “shake” to “carry a bucket”!

One of my favorite tricks that Lu knows is how to make herself into a “burrito”.  This trick is just a combination of “take it” and “roll over”.


We hope that these suggestions might give you a little help in curing that cabin fever!

What does your dog enjoy doing on bad weather days?

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