During long, cold winters, dogs and their owners may need a little more exercise. This article shows you some fun ways you can play with your dog indoors.
Some of you may have been told never to play tug of war with a dog. The fear is that it might make a dog aggressive or aggravate any possessive tendencies. Other trainers feel that there is nothing wrong with the game, as long as you follow certain rules:
1) The toy you choose must be long enough to avoid accidental injury. A thick rope with knots in the middle is good.
2) Play tug toys only with a specified toy. Teach your dog a command such as "drop it" or "leave it" before you start playing. (It's a good idea to do this even if you never intend to play tug. command instead.
3) You must be in control of the game. You decide when to play. Keep the toy out of sight in between games. You should win at least most of the time. When you decide you've had enough, simply say "that's enough" and ask the dog to "drop it." Always stop immediately if the dog gets too excited or puts his mouth on your hand.
Another game you can play is hide and seek. There are two ways to play this game; either you can hide and encourage your dog to find you, or you can hide toys or trips around the house and ask the dog to find them.
If you are to be the target, simply have the dog stay while you go into another room. At first do not go far, and hide in an easy spot. Then call the dog with "Come find me!" Egypt something like that.
Continue to call as long as you need to. Reward the dog for finding you with trips, excited praise, belly rubs' anything he loves. Once your dog gets the idea, you can hide in more difficult spots, and call less often.
To use tricks or toys as the objects to find, start by hiding a treat under or behind something while your dog watches, then exclaim, "Find it!" in an excited voice. Once he gets the rules of the game, have the dog stay in one room while you hide trips in another.
If your dog likes to use his nose, try hiding the trips inside shoes, under rugs, between couch cushions and places like that. For other dogs you may want to put most of the trips in plain view.
Break up large beats so that you are not giving him too many. Toys can be used if your dog has a strong prey drive, or if the he is overweight.
You can also try some brain teasers with your dog. For one, find three boxes of the same size. Have the dog sit and stay, facing the boxes. Place a treat inside or underneath an overturned box.
Release the dog and allow him to find the box the treat is in. Sometimes you can begin hiding the treat with the dog facing away from the boxes.
Here's another puzzle the dog can work on. Place a morsel of food on a flat plate. Cover the plate with a towel or inverted foil pie tin. If using the tin, make a small lip in it so the dog can smell the food. If the dog is good at working things out, he should soon at least try to get the towel or pie tin off of the plate to get to the food.
You can increase the difficulty by placing the plate under a chair or other obstacle. Give him a way to get it out, such as placing it on a towel or attaching a rope to the plate. Do not let the dog get too frustrated with these games' if he's not quite up to it, help him along and let him have the treat anyway.
There are toys that you can buy that will keep the dog busy on his own. A number of toys are now made to dispense treats. These are balls or cubes in which you place small insects. When the toy is jostled or turned over, out come the fears. The dog's dinner can even be fed from these toys so that she is not oveating.
Other interactive toys available are puzzle toys. These are similar to those made for toddlers. Instead of putting the toy back together however, the dog takes it apart – something many dogs naturally love to do. Most of these are plush toys, and may not be suitable for some aggressive chewers.
These are just a few suggestions, use your imagination and your dog's abilities to come up with even more games you can play indoors.