Friday, February 1, 2013

5 Things to do With Your Dog Today

With the frigid weather lately I can admit that my poor puppies haven’t had as much mental stimulation lately as they are used to.  It’s out to potty in the backyard and right back in the house.  Here are a few great ideas to keep your pups happy and mentally stimulated during these cold winter days or when you’re just running behind and don’t want your dog to be bored. 

1.)    Kong Genius “Mike” (or any other food dispensing toy), this big guy is great for stuffing small bit size treats or pieces of kibble into.  Boone loves when we fill his up.  He has learned how to balance between his nose and the floor and flip it end over end to get the treats out.  The funny thing is that Brinkley has yet to figure this out, so she has learned to stand by Boone and when the treat comes out she snatches it up before he can grab it.  She’s such a turd!

2.)    Practice and proof your obedience training.  Even if you dog has it all down pat, a 10-15 minute refresher course once a day with lots of positive reinforcement will do wonders for your dog’s level of overall contentment.  If you dog knows only voice commands you can even go a step forward and start associating hand signals with those commands and vice versa. 

3.)    Start doing some tracking or nosework with your dog.  You can start by simply walking through your living room and dropping your keys or something.  When the dog goes to it and sniffs it make a huge deal of it, lots of treats and excitement.  Practice this until you dog gets what they are supposed to do, then start making finding the item a little harder.  Go slow until your dog has down pat what they are supposed to do.  Remember, this is a supposed to be a fun and stimulating exercise for your dog, so if they have trouble when you make it harder go back to what they were good at and practice some more.

4.)    Play a guessing game with your dog.  This kind of goes along with scent work, but also teaches focus.  Start by putting a treat in one hand and leave one hand empty.  When your dog touches the hand with the treat in it open it up and give them the treat. As your dog starts to understand the game, you can start making it harder by switching behind your back or using 3 bowls or cups with only one treat.

5.)    Bake some dog treats together.  I know some people don’t like dogs in the kitchen, but in my house we have a walk through type kitchen, so it’s nearly impossible, plus I’m not a germ-a-phobe, so I don’t care if the dogs are in the kitchen as long as they listen when I tell them to leave.  Make some dog treats and include your dog.  As you go drop or give them little pieces of each step, to keep them interested and focused on you.  It might sound silly, but my dogs love watching and waiting while I bake them some healthy treats.  For a recipe that is fast and easy check out our Peanut Butter Pumpkin Treats Recipe.


  1. Fabulous ideas. My boy and I like to play hide n seek with his toys, until he gets bored, then it's onto something else. :)

  2. I've always wanted to do hide and seek with toys, but mine are too interested in finding me! There's only so many places in a 1500 sq ft house to hide from a pair of inquisitive Mastiffs!

  3. I love these ideas. I need to somehow incorporate the key idea, but for three dogs. I'm going to try it this weekend. Thanks!

  4. #3 is our favorite! We play the "find-it" game on muddy, rainy days. It's great because, not only is it fun for the dog and us, it's very mentally challenging, and does a great job of tiring him out. Gotta release that energy (in non-destructive ways) :D

  5. A busy dog is a happy dog!! Great ideas!