Now that the weather is turning colder and damper, it's not always possible to give your beloved dog the physical exercise out in the park that you know they desire and need. It may also be that you have physical restrictions which mean you sometimes have limitations. With this in mind there are a few things that you can easily implement in the home which will make your dog's time indoors that little bit more entertaining and potentially tiring.
There are some breeds that need constant stimulation so it’s really worth looking at what motivates your dog to utilise this and enable you to occupy them in a way that they enjoy.
Louise Glazebrook, a dog trainer and behaviour expert, offers us her top tips for a happy hound:
- If you have a really energetic dog who needs to let off some steam, spend some time, ideally with two of you, where you plant yourself in different spots in the house and call your dog back and forth. It's great recall practice but it allows your dog a bit of energetic output. You can do it up and down the stairs, one of you in the garden and the other one by the front door. Keep changing your locations so that it keeps it interesting for your dog.
- Most butchers will sell you fresh meaty marrow bones, if you have a great and friendly butcher ask them to cut the bone in half lengthways. It should now look like a long length of white bone with a hollow middle. If your dog is food motivated or loves to chew then clean the bone, fill it with a decent wet food, pat it down and compact it. Then pop it in a zip lock bag and freeze it. Once frozen, give it to your dog either outside or on a tiled surface as it will be messy but delicious!
- Should you own a dog that loves nothing better than to use its powerful nose, it’s worth conjuring up a game where they can put it to use. One idea is to put your dog either outside of the room and shut the door. If your dog will do a sit and wait then you can leave them in the room with you. Take six of the same items such as paper cups, flowerpots. buckets, cushions whatever you have to hand. Then place a treat under one of the items. Release your dog or let him back in the room and allow him to search for it. Encourage him by prodding the items and he will be rewarded when he finds it himself. Repeat over and over or as many times as your dog will play the game.
- With any kind of game it has to be rewarding for your dog otherwise you will find that they lose interest very quickly. Make sure you praise your dog with your voice and petting if they need encouragement. And if they find what is suggested above too hard or are of a nervous disposition, make it easier and build it back up again.
Louise's book Dog About Town: How to Raise a Happy Dog in the City, is out now published by Hardie Grant, priced £12.99