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Have you ever heard the saying “a tired dog is a happy dog”?
Maybe your dog is high energy or simply still young, but sometimes you don’t have time to go for a 2 hour long hike, or the weather is working against you.
Here are a few games to play to mentally stimulate your pup, and hopefully tucker him out!
1. Obedience Training: what better time to start learning the basics, and if your dog has those down you can move onto tricks! A quick search of Youtube and you should be set for step-by- step instructions on any command you’re looking to teach. To keep their attention, train for no more than 10-15 minute intervals (shorter for puppies), remember to be patient, and always end the session on a positive note!
2. Hide and Seek: this classic game is a great one to get kids involved in too, since watching your dog seek is pretty exciting for little ones. Use either your dogs favourite toy or some treats, command your dog to stay (I generally use their beds as a starting point) and hide the goodies somewhere else in the house. Eventually, teach your dog to start finding the kids! Get that nose work in!
3. Cup Game: make your dog sit down so they can focus on what you’re doing. Get 3 cups and place a couple of treats under one, then shuffle them slowly and ask your dog to find where they are. If they guess correctly, they get the treat! Otherwise, keep playing! You can also do the same thing with your hands behind your back – we do that with our dogs and it keeps their attention for as long as you want to play.
4. Puzzles: you can buy dog puzzles at the pet store, or you can make your own! Grab a muffin tin and a bunch of tennis balls, place treats in each of the holes and cover with a tennis ball, then give the puzzle to your dog to figure out. Or, even easier, lay a towel out flat and place a line of treats down the centre, then roll it up and let your dog figure out how to unroll the magic towel full of cookies! You can find tutorials on other DIY puzzles here!
5. Call a Friend: No, seriously, your friend with the dog. Let the dogs tucker each other out in the yard and enjoy a drink with your pal. Make sure the dogs are supervised, but sometimes you just need to take a load off, and socialization for the dogs is a learned skill so it’s a win-win. Although these games and exercises should not replace physical exercise and daily walks, they’ll hopefully bring some peace to the household! Tired dogs = happy dogs, and even happier dog parents.