Keep your dog occupied ( and the kids !!!!) by teaching a few simple tricks and games and remember this is fun for the everyone, short sessions with lots of praise are best for all.
If they don’t have this skill already, teaching your dog to sit and stay will make life easier.
Teaching your dog to sit :
- With your dog in a standing position, hold a tasty treat near their nose.
- Keeping the treat near your dogs nose, move your hand over his head. As the dog raises his head to follow the treat, his bottom will go on the floor. The instant he sits, praise him and give him the treat.
- Practice this a number of times in short but regular sessions.
- Give an ‘okay’ cue to let your dog know when their session has ended.
Teaching your dog to stay :
- Ask your dog to sit.
- Give your dog a hand signal – for example a ‘stop’ sign with the palm of your hand facing your dog.
- Instead of giving your dog the treat straight away, wait a few seconds. Say ‘stay’ and then reward. It’s important to reward your dog while they are sat down and not if they have got back up.
- Practice this many times in short but regular sessions, gradually increasing the length of time your dog stays in the sit position.
- Next, you can start to increase the distance between you and your dog. Start by only taking one step back before giving them the reward and then slowly and gradually increase the distance.
Find the treat :
This game is one of the easiest ways to tire out your dog. By teaching basic nose work games such as ‘find the treats’ you’re mentally tiring them out and using some of their natural skills.
Let your dog watch as you place treats 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 making 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 your dog to put their toys away. Tremendous fun for all and a great lesson to learn. Teaching your dog new skills boosts their confidence, and it’s a great way to give them more mental stimulation.
If your dog already knows “drop it” have them pick up a toy and give them their drop it command once they’re standing over the container. Praise them like crazy, then repeat. Eventually you will have a dog that will be able to clean up after himself. You never know the kids may follow suite !!!!
Name the toy :
Teach your dogs the names of their toys and make some fun games out of it. Dogs can learn over 200 words so this is a great mental workout.
Start by playing with one toy and giving it a name while you do. After some practice & praise your dog will assign that name with the chosen toy. Once your dog has learned that specific toys name you can test their skills by seeing if they can pick it out among their other toys.
Once your dog knows the names of some of their toys teach them the “go find it” game. Have your dogs toys in a pile and tell them to “go find” the named toy. As your dog gets better at this game make it more challenging by increasing the number of toys they have have to sift through.
Keep it fun for them by rewarding them with a treat or quick game of tug when they succeed.
Dogs love to learn and be stimulated and this can be great way to occupy the whole family in a united project. Remember – little and often is the key to avoid overtiring your dog !!!!