28/01/2020 - Enrichment and Activities
Phew! another blisteringly hot day. How are you and your dogs coping?
This weather certainly makes exercising your dog somewhat difficult. However, in my house it just means we add a little variety to the exercise menu.
I have a small selection of parks we can drive to, pop out and have a good sniff under the shade of trees. We don’t stay long - we just get some fresh air, fresh smells and do the required business!
However, this does not mean my dogs are not getting the mental and physical stimulation they require. Back home, in the comfort of air conditioning, we have a multitude of activities to enjoy.
Of course, there is daily sniffing activities – this can be searching for a target odour or hunting out some delicious treats that are hidden throughout the home. Charlie Brown even likes to hunt out his toy. Barnaby beagle thinks this is a very silly activity – where is the food! Scent detection not only gets the nose going, but the brain and body are also engaged. My dogs get a bit of speed up plus there is stretching up to those high targets, bending around objects etc. The experts say that 10 minutes of sniffing is the equivalent of 50 minutes of physical exercise.
We also love our enrichment toys. Kongs are a favourite in our house. Be it the traditional Kong filled with ...oh, well anything! Bananas are a favourite, but my boys enjoy yoghurt or veggies too. I often suggest to clients who feed a biscuit based food to soak the biscuits until mushy, stuff the Kong and freeze. Suddenly dinner is a fun activity that lasts much longer! Kong also have some great new enrichment toys – where the dogs have to push, roll and manoeuvre the toy for the food to come out. Barnaby Beagle can be entertained for a very long time with one of these!
We also do our daily doggy physio exercises. Whilst we have some core exercises, we change them up most days as well - from stretching, strength, balance and body awareness, we all enjoy our daily ‘doggy gym’!
Dogs do you need some physical exercise, but where in the rulebook does it say this must be outside? I love setting up little obstacle courses, or my favourite confidence course. This can be as simple as placing different objects and textures in a room, pop a few low value treats around (at different heights), then let your dog in to explore. Fun!
Other great activities can be teaching a new trick, practising your foundation training (eg recall or loose lead walking) or learning some shaping games.
There is no need to be restricted because it is so hot outside.
For some dogs, the outside world can be quite overwhelming at times. I advise my clients with these dogs to mix and match our mental and physical exercise activities - we are only limited by our imagination! If you need some help coming up with ideas, book an enrichment consult with me – I have a multitude of great activities to share.
I challenge you to think outside of the square and have some fun with your dog today!