Hello all! How are you and your four-leggers holding up under our present national lock down? Time for some fun?
Dogs are amazing creatures. Often we hear about engaging dog games and how good it is to provide mental activities for your precious pooch. But as soon as we look up some examples online we find such toys a little pricey. Here are a couple ideas that you can easily put together using common items from your home. I put together some fun quarantine dog games to engage your dog’s mental faculties to curb the boredom and boost your relationship.
Unlock Your Dog’s Potential
So many new, exciting discoveries have been made in recent years of dogs’ abilities. Skills never explored before are quickly becoming common knowledge, thanx to researchers such as Prof. John Pilley with his Border Collie, Chaser. Professor Pilley has explored in great depth how dogs learn and has broken records on how much they can learn. This dog knows over 1,000 words! The team has even proven that dogs have the ability to reason out problems.
You seriously can help your dog learn just about anything.
Yes–“even” your dog!
Check out the very basic and fool-proof points Prof. Pilley lays out in this short introduction.
The basic guidelines from the video are:
- Let your follow her instincts.
- Make tasks simple.
- Reinforce frequently.
I’m going to add…
- Keep it short! Working a couple times a day, about 15-20 minutes at a time for each *new task; up to 30 minutes to practice and play with tasks he has already mastered.
That is an easy, fabulous recipe for lots of fun, keeping your dog mentally engaged, and building your relationship with your pup!
Now, with all the time most of us have during this lock down, I’m sure at least some of you are wondering why your dogs are driving you nuts–more so than before. Try the ideas presented here during this quarantine time and I am certain your dog (and you!) will become much more at ease! You will also find your dog becoming more obedient in other things throughout the day. Whenever we spend quality time with our pooches the foundations of Pack Structure are reinforced, they are exercising their minds and bodies, and learning they can depend on you for literally everything–including structured fun!
So how do you teach a dog names of objects?
Lay a toy or other object on the floor in front of your pup that he can (and is allowed to/is safe) grab with his mouth. Give it a name. Something simple. While you tell your pup the name of the object, hold a treat over that object. As soon as his nose touches the object, let him have the treat. Do that a few times, then have a play or belly-rubber break. After a while, your pup will associate the name with the object, knowing he’ll get a treat (and belly-rubbers!) of course.
The next phase, or step, is to back away from the object, point to it and say the name, but do not show him the treat yet. If the object is a stuffed pig it would go something like this: “Get Piggy.” *As soon as he touches the pig with his nose, praise him and give him the treat.
*It is incredibly important to affirm your dog’s choice at the very moment he responds correctly.*
Eventually, depending on how quickly your pup catches on, you can get him to pick up the object and bring it to you. Always praise your pup to reinforce correct responses, but you can play around with this however suits you both. It’s a good idea to replay each step several times before you add a new step, working up to retrieving the object. But you can make as many steps as you see need to. Each step reinforces and build on his learning as he becomes more and more attuned to the praise, which will enable you to phase out giving treats.
Here’s another game that you can put together with stuff you likely have around your home:
I call it the Muffin Pan Pup 😉
Most everyone has a muffin pan, also known as a cup cake pan. If you’re like me, you shouldn’t mind sharing it with your pup! This one is very simple for both of you 🙂
Simply take your muffin pan and place treats in two to four of the holes. Place small balls in all of the holes (if you have that many!), or at least enough to cover the treats and then some.
Just be sure to wash it thoroughly before placing back in the cupboard 😉
At the end of the day…
While so many of us are home all day, maybe your dogs are driving you nuts during this quarantine. We can use this time to try out new things or refresh old things, or maybe get to those lists of things you wanted to do with your pup. These, and more, are some great ideas to begin to work out problem behaviors you may have been dealing with as well.
Since you have some time on your hands, Prof. John Pilley’s book, Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Who Knows a Thousand Words, is a fabulous read for dog lovers. So, have a look. Try some tricks. See what genius is hidden in your dog 🙂
Feel free to write in and share some of your own ideas for games and such! Or simply post below and share how you and your pup are using this time! Either way, stay tuned for more Quarantine Dog Games to come 🙂
Take care and be safe oxoxo