I was super ready for this blog hop knowing that Bauer’s nosework class and Jeni’s trick dog club/class were starting tonight. I could update on the start of our goals for the train your dog challenge and show what I learned from these first classes (this will be my first experience with nosework).
Well, THIS happened:
The whole metro area is basically snowed in. Excuse the picture being through my screen… it was too cold and snowy to trudge outside. Anyway, everything is canceled, from my work to dog classes. So class update will have to wait for next week.
But all this snow gives me the perfect first “positive training blog hop” post! What do you do when you can’t exercise your dog outside?
Kringle says, “What do you mean we can’t stay outside all day??”
Well, crazy amount of coat or not, it’s still not safe for any of my dogs to be outside for any extended period of time as the temperature is hovering around zero degrees.
So while there are lots of things you can do to entertain your dogs when you’re stuck inside here are a few of my favorite games/tricks to keep your dog’s brain busy:
Perch: This is one of my favorite things to do with Jeni – though if you don’t like your dog on your furniture make sure to get it under stimulus control quickly or you will wind up with a dog that offers jumping on top of everything (possibly the table…) to get a treat.
Trust me – this is harder than it sounds and harder than it looks. Most dogs are not aware they have back legs, so this is a good exercise for building back end awareness. My biggest piece of advice is to start big. With Jeni, I first taught her “all four” which means all four legs on an object, and “two” which means front two legs on an object. I initially taught her this with a large soft chair, a couch, and a blanket chest which had more than enough room for her to jump up on. Once she started getting the concept I have slowly been getting smaller with the objects I’ve asked her to get up on.
The possibilities are endless – just find whatever you have lying around the house! I also like incorporating this into walks – with picnic tables, tree stumps or even overturned recycle bins on the morning of trash day.
“Ummm excuse me Legolas I am trying to pose here…”
Weave through legs: This is actually surprisingly easy to teach and looks really impressive when it’s all put together. Definitely a fun party trick, and there are so many variations you can work on once you have the basics down. The best way to really learn this is to watch a video and I’m not going to reinvent the wheel because there are already so many good ones out there, like this from kikopup.
Hide n’ seek: Believe it or not, as much as this seems like a “game,” it is an awesome training opportunity and great way to reinforce your recall. (For more on training an awesome recall check out Dachshund Nola’s post for today). Make sure you start easy if you’ve never played this before. For best results you should have two people to play this game, or a really good “stay.” Put your dog in a stay or have a friend hold onto them, go into the next room and stand behind a chair or something. Make it pretty obvious where you are. Call your dog, and let them try to find you! Some dogs may need encouragement “puppy puppy here here here!” but don’t repeat your recall word. With Jeni, I call once and stay silent until she finds me.
When the dog does find you, give them a treat (or lots of treats) and have a big party! Then hand them off to your friend and repeat. Once they get the idea of the game you can increase the difficulty, making sure you aren’t visible anymore, hiding in a different room, etc. My dogs are old pros at this so I will even hide on a different level of the house so they have to run up stairs to find me.
Well for those of you that are also snowed in today, hope this gives you some fun ideas. For the rest of you… can I come visit?