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What's a green dog to do on a too cold winter's day? Play...indoors that is!

Posted Jan 11 2010 4:31am
It's been mighty cold these past couple of weeks here in Indiana. And we've heard that it's been that way in many parts of the country.

Since lots of pups can't get outside and burn off that cabin fever, and get the exercise they need to stay fit both mentally and physically, we thought it would be a good idea to share how we play, stay occupied, have fun, learn, exercise and stay outta trouble when we can't get outside for our usual hikes, agility and long walks.

Here's our short list:

Tricks

One of my (and Gracie's too) favorite things in the whole world besides agility, is learning new tricks. And Mum and I have a great time together figuring out the best way for me to learn a new trick, and then...oh the sense of accomplishment when I do it!

Here are some great resources for learning new tricks. And be sure to keep it positive, use treats, try clicker training, take your time and have lots of fun together:

An introduction to clicker training from Karen Pryor
Fun Dog Tricks - a blog with lots of videos and links to get ideas on tricks for you and your dog.
Dog Trick Academy - a great site with trick ideas and a forum to interact with other dog trick lovers.

Activities

There are lots of other indoor activities you and your pup can do to both get exercise, here are our favorites:

Hide and seek - Mum puts me in a stay down stairs, then goes upstairs and hides (sometimes in a closet, sometimes in the bathtub, you get the idea). Then she calls me to come and I find her to get a treat!

Find Target - This is one of my all time favorite games. Mum uses a yogurt container lid as a target, she puts me in a stay, then goes in another room and hides the target, releases me and then I have to find it to get the treats. Here's a quick vid.

Table Games - You probably know that I'm an agility dog. And part of being an agility dog is learning to 'down' on the table. So during the winter, we like to work on this part of my agility, but it's a fun game for any dog! Mum sends me to the table (which is really our ottoman), and the faster I get down, the more treats I get! Love, love, love this game.




Walking on a Treadmill - This is a little advanced, but a great activity to get pawsome exercise when you can't get outside because of the deep freeze temps. It's helping your dog learn to walk on a Treadmill. Here's a great resource to learn to teach your dog to walk on a treadmill.

Games

There are lots and lots of intelligent, interactive and puzzle type games on the market, and Gracie and I love to play with them. But did you know that you can make yourself some really nice and fun interactive and intelligent games with items around your house? Yep...here are some ideas:

The Muffin Tin Game - from our friend Astrid. Take a muffin tin, put a treat in each space, cover with a toy (make sure they're safe ones, K?) and let your dog learn to take the toy out to get the treat!

Hide a ball - Take an old blanket or towel, hide a ball or other green toy underneath and let your dog learn to find the ball under the blanket or towel. When they find it, give 'em a treat.

Hide a Treat - you know those stainless steel bowls you use to feed your dog their dinner? Well, they can become a pawsome hide a treat toy! Just put a little treat on the floor, then put the bowl upside down over it, and watch your pup use their brain to get to the treat. Even better, use three to four bowls and hide treats under just a couple of them. It's a great interactive toy!

Other Resources

- Visit my "Fun Games" YouTube channel for lots more ideas on tricks and games.
- Visit this great site for lots of ideas to make your own intelligent, interactive, and fun games for your dog! (It's in german, but you can see and get a lot of info from the photos).
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