Dear dog lovers,
the coronavirus has definitely put us all in a pretty tight spot. We are encouraged to spend as much time at home as possible. Therefore, meeting other dog owners or attending dog schools are unfortunately not advisable and should be avoided. In order for us to avoid cabin fever and that your dog doesn’t do stupid things out of boredom, we have put together a variation of indoor activities for you both.
A simple way to keep your dog occupied at home is with the game of hide-and-seek. Usually this is where your dog has to use their nose to find the right place. Hide-and-seek games can be played in different ways. You yourself can hide, your dog's favourite toys can be hidden or of course their treats can be put in different places. Of course it is important that your dog does not see where you hide or where you hide the objects. If you decide to hide, your dog should know the command "Stay", so that you have enough time to hide out of sight. With a corresponding command the hiding game starts. Treats are very easy to hide: under the carpet, on chairs, under the table or you can be creative but it's best to remember where all the treats are hidden so that eventually all the treats are found.
The treats toy
There are also toys that can mentally occupy and challenge your dog. For example, balls with small openings that can be filled with treats. Most dogs have a lot of fun working on how to get the treats out. An excellent pastime.
If you do not have such a toy at hand, you can simply make one yourself. All you need is a simple hard plastic bottle, like the ones you can buy in any supermarket. Then wash it out, remove the label and fill it with treats. The aim is to make sure that the reward doesn't fall out right away, but fits through the neck of the bottle just enough to make things a bit more difficult. If the treats are too small, simply make a hole in the top of the bottle and don't forget to remove the plastic ring. Your homemade toy is ready!
Learn new tricks
Another good idea, that works both indoors and outdoors, is teaching your dog new tricks and commands. Have you ever thought about teaching your dog a trick that is really useful? One such trick could be "Give" or "In my hand". In this exercise, the dog learns to put objects lying on the floor directly into your hand.
Start the exercise with one of your dog's toys and drop it. Since they do not know any other way, they will probably pick it up, otherwise motivate them to do so. If they have it in their mouth, take it out quickly and say, for example, the command "Give". Afterwards there is a reward. This has to be repeated a few times until your dog learns to put the item in your hand by itself to get the reward. Once they have understood the principle with the toy, try something else, like a towel or a pillow. Drop the object, hold out your hand and say the command. If your dog does not immediately understand what you want them to do, then put the object in their mouth and let them give it to you afterwards. The whole routine must now be trained with as many objects as possible. When your dog learns the command, your back will thank you for it. How convenient is that?
Another way of using your quadruped to its full capacity is an indoor course. For this you can build obstacles from different household items, which your dog should overcome. This way you can bring the action directly into your living room. For example, build a tunnel of blankets that you hang over two chair backs or convert a broomstick into a jumping obstacle. There are no limits to your creativity. On top of this, your dog will be physically challenged inside the house. It is important that you construct safely and build safe course/challenges to prevent anyone from getting hurt.
The shell game
Who doesn’t know the famous shell game. Three upside-down cups are placed in a row. A ball is placed under one of them and then the cups are mixed at lightning speed. The aim of the game is to say which cup the ball is located under after the mixing. With a dog, of course, you play this game somewhat differently.
In this exercise, your dog will have to be completely focused, because their nose, patience and obedience are all trained at the same time. The only things you will need are three empty cups and a treat for each round. First you put a single cup upside down on the floor. Then you make your dog sit down, put a treat under the cup and give the command to search. As soon as your dog touches the cup with their nose, you give the reward. It gets more difficult if you increase the number of cups and increase the speed. Keep in mind that it’s best to increase the difficulty step by step, so that you don’t frustrate your four-legged friend.
With this in mind, the William Walker Team wishes you a healthy and fun time with your dog at home!