By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.
Neither rain nor sleet nor blizzard should prevent your dog from engaging in daily play and exercise. When the weather is anything but fetching, play indoors.
The beauty of regular playtime with your canine pal is that it can occur anytime, anywhere. And you both reap many benefits. You get to use this time to reinforce basic obedience cues in a fun setting. Your dog gets a daily dose of activities that enrich him mentally and physically. And the power of purposeful play – indoors and outdoors – bolsters your friendship bond.
Here are four of my favorite dog-people indoor games that unleash fun and fitness:
1. K9 Treasure Hunt. Introduce your dog to a fun canine treasure hunt by first putting him in a sit-stay and showing him a healthy treat. Then place the treat behind a chair while your dog watches you. Go back to him and say, “Find the treasure.” Once your dog understands the concept, pretend to stash treats in several places in a room, but leave the treasure in only one location. Then tell him to “find the treasure.” Praise him when he discovers his tasty prize.
2. I Hide You Seek. This game reinforces the all-important recall cue in your dog. Start by having your dog stay in a room. Then you leave and hide in another room. In an upbeat tone, call out his name and tell him to come and find you. Be sure to heap on praise and treats each time he finds you so he enjoys a great payoff for complying.
3. Hallway fetch. Got a fetch-focused dog?