27 Dec 10

Is your dog BORED? ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Is your dog BORED?

Long Island is now covered with a lot of snow and while most of our dogs love it – they all can’t stay out too long in it.  The weather and shorter days changes all of our routines, and often our dogs don’t get the long walks they need to drain that mental and physical energy.  So if you think your dog is bored or getting a serious case of cabin fever, here are a few fun tips that can’t help break up the monotony of the long cold winter.

• Dogs love to play “hide-n-go seek.” Now I know what you’re thinking, it seems silly, but they love it. Also it helps with training dogs to “sit and stay.” (And if you have kids, they love it too!) Here is how you do it: Teach your dog to sit and stay, and go hide in a somewhat obvious spot so the dog can find you. Call the dog, and when he finds you, make a big fuss, “Good boy, great job!” Do this a few times in easy spots for the dog to find you, so he gets the hang of the game. Then make him sit and stay, and go hide in a different spot (a little more difficult for him to find you this time) and call him. This fun exercise will help the dog in training, it will challenge him mentally, and most of all add exercise and fun to his day, and yours.

• Another fun game is the “find it” game. This can be done a few different ways, but the easiest is to take a few treats, break them into smaller treats (or use a handful of kibble) and have your dog sit and stay. Put a couple treats about 6-feet in front of him, but in plain site and say, “Buddy, find it,” and point to the treats. When he trots over to eat them, tell him, “Good job, good find it!” Then continue to do this making the treats further away, and not so obvious. Dogs get the hang of this pretty quickly, and love this game too. You can make it harder by having the dog sit and stay in another room, and hide the treats throughout the house. Just be sure to deduct the kibble or treats from what you normally feed the dog. You don’t want to make the dog overweight!

• Take him or her to a training class or agility class. Some training centers have indoor facilities like, Doggie U K9 Academy in Bay Shore, or the new Fido Fitness Club in Woodmere.  You can also set up an indoor play date with your dog’s best pal in your home, just make sure it’s doggy proofed and safe for them to play.

• There are now also board games you can play with your family and your dog. DARF Inc. offers various different games to keep your family and the dog entertained and interactive. www.darfinc.com

• Watching too much TV while snowed in?  Use the commercial breaks to do short and fun training sessions with your dog. 

• And of course one of our favorites are Kong toys, which can keep a dog entertained for quite a while. Your dog should be supervised with any toy, same goes for the Kong. Try stuffing it with a few pieces of kibble that fall out easily and one larger biscuit that will take longer for Fido to get to. Kongs come in all shapes and sizes, and different levels of toughness from: Puppy, Classic, Senior and Extreme. Be sure to get the right size and level for your chewer, and always supervise. www.kongcompany.com.

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