Are you and your dog struggling to find ways to stay active during these cold months? For those of us with high-energy dogs, it can be challenging to find ways to release their energy and keep them both stimulated and happy!
But keep in mind that even when you’re stuck inside with an energetic dog, there are always ways to engage them mentally and physically! Here are some ideas to keep both you and your dog from going stir-crazy without spending too much time outside:
1. Work for food. Food is one of the best means of motivating, training and shaping behaviors that you may want to see in your pup. Using meal time as a way to work on obedience training gives you the chance to reinforce and test command recall while also stimulating your dog to be focused and attentive. Most owners get into the habit of feeding their dogs at dinner time from their bowl. All the dog has to do is perform a 'sit' and they instantly get their entire meal right from the bowl. You can change it up to utilize mealtimes and provide your dog more of a mental challenge. Having them work for their food is also a great way to teach them patience and that they might not always get all their food at once!
2. Teach a new trick. While commands like sit, place, and down are very functional, sometimes it's fun to teach tricks that allow your pup to use his brain for things that are not always natural behaviors. You can teach your dog to roll over, crawl, shake, or speak. What ever you choose to teach, be consistent and have fun!
3. Play around. A great way to get some energy out while also working on some impulse control is to simply play with your pup. The idea is to get your dog excited, play with him, let him chase you, then stop everything and ask him or her to follow a command or perform a simple task. The reasoning behind this is that you should have full attention and control to have your dog stop and listen to you right away, despite excitement or distractions. Playing this type of game fulfills a dog’s physical and mental needs at the same time. It also helps to build the relationship between you and your dog while burning off some pent-up energy!