By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance
While the weather slowly warms, many pet owners find themselves with some pretty serious cabin fever this time of year. Even though the ground has started to thaw, the sun is still setting early and trails and backyards can still be muddy. What’s a dog owner to do? Pets Best Insurance has a few ideas to tide you and your pet over until spring.
Hide and Seek with Kibbles
When space is too limited for physical exercise, opt for cognitive exercise instead. Feed your pup his dinner in a food-dispensing toy, or put half in his dish and use the other half for games, like catch or hide-and-seek. Put your dog in another room while you hide kibbles around the living room, then let him out to hunt. Bonus: he’ll be busy hunting for more long after the last one has been eaten.
It’s important to reserve some of your dog’s normal food portion for games (instead of giving an extra serving), because pet health can be compromised by weight gain.
Teach New Tricks
Teaching your dog new tricks takes lots of time and patience – perfect for cold nights when you’re stuck in front of reality TV. If your dog has mastered the basic sit/stay/shake commands, opt for something more entertaining, like “high 5”, “dance” or “roll over”. Even if your dog doesn’t get it right away, you’ll both have fun practicing.
Training tip: To avoid confusing your dog, help her do the desired action and then say the command, followed by lots of praise or a treat. This is much more effective than saying “Roll over! Roll over!” while your dog stares at you.
Tug of War
From meat-flavored rubber toys to ropes and squeakers, find what your dog likes best and tug away. In order to avoid dental problems in dogs, however, be sure you don’t tug too hard. Provide just enough resistance to satisfy your dog without damaging any teeth. Some pet insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance, provide coverage for accidents, just in case.
Make Room to Run
If Fido is bouncing off the walls and really needs to run, move couches, the coffee table or the kitchen table to create a larger space to play. It’s no dog park, but it’s safer and more fun than trying to navigate furniture while chasing a toy.
Daycares and Play Dates
Give your dog a vacation day by dropping her off at a doggie daycare for a few hours – some places even offer discount rates on their least popular days. Or, partner up with dog-owning friends and take turns hosting doggie play dates. Lots of energy can be burned wrestling and chasing.
Here are a few unique games shared by the Pets Best Insurance Facebook friends:
Ninja – If your dog likes to fake you out, this is perfect. Throw a toy and try to catch him as he runs back to you.
Blankie Monster – Throw a blanket over your dog and let her bite her way out.
Monkey in the Middle – Grab a kid, a ball and play keep-away (letting Spot win every once in a while, of course.)