Too Hot to Exercise?
The dog days of summer. There’s nothing dog-friendly about the hot days in August. My dogs are accustomed to walking 1- 2 hours a day, but some days have been so hot and humid that it’s dangerous to have them outside for more than a few minutes at a time. As a result, they are really bored. We all know that bored dogs have a tendency to get into mischief. Instead of physical exercise, a little bit of mental stimulation can go a long way to tire out your dog and alleviate the boredom. How about some indoor fun and games?
Search and find: Put your dog into a sit-stay or down-stay. Get your dog’s favorite treats (use very small bits) and hide them all around the room – under a few of your dog’s favorite toys, on the steps, in the corner of the room, and any other place you can think of. On your command to “find it,” release your dog from the stay and watch the fun. Each time your dog finds one of the treats, say “find it!” and give a cheer to reinforce what this command means. This game also helps to fine-tune your dog’s staying power!
Hide and seek: At night, turn off most of the lights in the house and put your dog in a sit-stay or down-stay in a room. Go into another room without your dog seeing where you go. Hide in a closet, a bathroom, behind the sofa, or even just in another room out of your dog’s sight. Call your dog once in a low voice so as not to give away your location too easily. Most dogs like the challenge of finding where your voice is coming from. When your dog finds you, make it an enormously happy event. Yeah! My dogs are so proud of themselves for finding me! This game not only helps with your dog’s ability to stay, but is great for practicing a reliable recall – getting your dog to come to you.
Leave it: The “leave it” command is so useful to stop dogs from eating or stealing things they shouldn’t have. But it’s tough for them. It requires a great deal of impulse control and a lot of practice for a dog to master “leave it,” especially for highly desirable items. Ask your dog to lie down, take one of your dog’s favorite treats and place it on the floor a few feet in front of him/her. Say “leave it” and praise your dog if he/she doesn’t take the treat. Gradually move the treat a little closer each time. Work up to placing the treat on your dog’s paw and asking him/her to “leave it.” What a feeling of accomplishment you and your dog will feel when you do this trick!
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