After a long day of work, making sure the dogs have adequate exercise can be a little difficult for this family of six. We often have to find creative ways to get the ya-ya’s out so that we can all rest easily. Our dogs spend up to 10 hours alone at home while the family is away at work and school so when we arrive home they are full of energy. Here are just a few easy activities that you can use to keep your pooch entertained.
1. Work for your dinner
Evening meal time is a great time for a training session. Making your dog work for his dinner will allow him to exert mental energy producing a calmer, more relaxed dog.
All of my dogs are at different levels when it comes to training so we go around in a circle and each dog performs one trick and gets a few pieces of kibble. In approximately the same time that it would take for our dogs to scarf down their meals from their bowls, we have had a training session and everyone is much more relaxed and settled down. We work on tricks that we can use later on such as sit, down (lay down), back up, and wait. We also throw in a few other tricks for fun such as shake, stand up, roll over and some hand targeting.
2. Treasure hunt
Dogs spend a lot of time gathering information with their nose. Think of nose work for your dogs like you would think of homework for your kids.
When I need to dogs to stay busy for a few minutes I will take a cup full of kibble, treats or even dry cereal and toss it into the yard spreading it over several square feet so all three dogs have room to hunt. If you don’t have a yard you can try it in your living room, kitchen or anywhere you allow your dogs to stay. The food doesn’t have to be hidden but extra bonus points if it is. When you are first starting out, you might want to toss the food into a conspicuous place until your dog catches on to the Treasure hunt game.
3. Visit a new place
It seems that this week my dogs have gotten spring fever. Everyone has been extra antsy lately so today we visited a new park. We weren’t there for very long but after a half hour of walking around, sniffing new scents, and looking at new sights, the dogs were down for the count.
Taking your dog to experience something novel is a great socialization exercise and also one that will expel some extra energy. . The local park, a dog friendly cafe, a new neighborhood, a new dog park or even the closest lake or river are just a few destinations that your dog might enjoy checking out. Some care should be taken to make sure your pet is healthy before their outing and making sure your destination is pet friendly. Also, just because dogs are allowed at some locations does not mean that they are right for your dog. Take some time to visit the destination beforehand without your dog and survey the scene. What unique ways do you use to exercise your dog?