Do you look at your dog and think “what a cute dummy?” Or are they SO smart they’re training You to run around? They may get lonely or bored and those feelings translate into furniture chewing or other “bad” behavior. Let’s keep our fuzzy friends stimulated so they are challenged and happy. You don’t have to run out to buy a new toy, we can use items that you probably own already. These activities are meant to be free and fun.
Maybe your dog is a certain breed or has a dominant trait in its mix. Find out what that is and tailor your outdoor activities to them. If your dog has a retrieving bloodline, grab a stick, frisbee, or ball and chuck it! Well, DUH you say...of course they like playing fetch. Not always, some herding breeds have no interest in fetching, they need to go to a park and run with other dogs or with you. Labradors are fond of water and may do best for an afternoon swim or a spray from your garden hose. Figure out their personality and their hobbies!
Give your pup a job or an errand that they get to do with you. Send them to the mailbox or to greet the delivery person every time they come. Learning a new trick engages your dog mentally and will give them structure and a sense of accomplishment.
Hide & Seek sounds like a joke we’re trying to make, but they can learn! If they know how to Sit, Stay, and Come, that’s all you need in order to teach them this game. Instead, you can also teach them updated commands like staying until you count to a certain number or coming when you say “ready or not, come and get me.” Along the lines of this game, try setting up a treasure hunt for your dogs. Around the house or around your yard, strategically hide little treats and try a new command such as “Find it.”
Vocab lessons, just like elementary school! Gather all sorts of toys and foods that they love. Start small and work up to more items as their vocabulary grows. They probably know words like bed, ball, dinner, etc. the idea is the same but the patience to teach them more is what is needed. This is a great activity for the future as well. As you keep teaching them names for items, eventually you can teach them to pick up after themselves!
Remember, it’s about you spending time with your lovelies. That’s what they really want. Any activity they do with you is heaven. This is a great start for those of you who need more activities, but stay tuned for a post about how to stimulate your dogs while you’re away!