Play a Game of Find the Treats - Nose work games are one of the easiest ways to tire out your dog. When you teach your dog some basic nose work games such as ‘find the treats’ you’re mentally tiring them out and helping them home in on some of their natural skills. You don’t need a big bag of store bough dog treats either; chopped up carrots are my favourite treat to use for this game.
To play all you have to do is grab some treats and have your dog watch in a stay position as you place them around the room. Give your dog the cue to “find the treats” and encourage your dog to pick them up, remembering to praise them every time they find one. After your confident that your dog understands what “find the treats” means you can make it a bit more challenging. Have them stay in another room as you hide the treats and start hiding them in spots, they have to sniff out such as under a rug.
Teach Them to Identify Their Toys - Teaching your dog the names of their toys is not as hard as it may sound. This can be a great activity, especially if you spoil your pup with lots of toys. Start by playing with one toy and give it a name while you do — tell your dog to fetch the specific toy by name and give lots of praise when they bring back the correct one. You can also use treats or a clicker while playing with the specific toy and reward your dog while saying the toy’s name.
Eventually, see if your dog can pick out the toy by name out of a pile of toys. Once they understand the name, try moving onto another toy and repeating the process.
Brush up on some Old Tricks - Just like us our dogs can benefit from a refresher now and then. When was the last time you asked your dog to roll over or play dead? If it’s been a while get out your clicker or treats and run through the drill. Have your dog practice all of their commands to make sure they’re not getting rusty. When it comes to training remember to keep it short & sweet; a few 5-minute sessions each day can do wonders.
Play Hide & Seek - Particularly fun if you have kids – get your dog to sit, stay (give them a human helper if they don’t know how to stay yet) and then go and hide. When you’re ready, call them to come and find you.
When they succeed, make sure to react super enthusiastically and reward them so they know they did a good job and enjoy the game as much as you did!
Learn Scent Work - Our dogs explore and understand their world through scent, so scent work games are a great way to keep Fido occupied by putting their nose to work. For these games, all you need is some dog treats and various household items.
Play the ‘which hand’ game:
Muffin tin puzzles:
The shell game:
Give Them Regular Grooming Sessions - Although your dog won’t find a grooming session as exciting as a game of tug it is something that needs to be done from time to time. Our dogs need to be brushed, bathed, have their teeth brushed, and have their nails trimmed when they start to get long.
Some dogs tolerate grooming better than others, and the more you practice using positive rewards the easier it will become. Don’t be afraid to hand out lots of treats during a grooming session – you want to ensure your dog will associate grooming habits with a positive experience.