Enrichment and Exercise?
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
With all of the crazy weather we have been having, many pets have been left pent up in the house without much to do -- other than starting to destroy things. So what should we do if we cannot get outside to take our pets for a walk, or we can't play ball because the yard is too muddy or cannot get out to the dog park or go for a hike? Luckily there are many rainy day games that we can play with our pups in order to decrease the amount of chewing and to help build a better bond with you and your pet! Although enrichment toys will not replace a daily walk or exercise routine, they will give your dog some mental stimulation while you curl up with a book (or laptop) and take a break from the daily training routine.
Some basic DIY enrichments include muffin tins, tennis balls, water bottles, fleece (or fabric strips) and dental chews (or some other kind of treat). Making a puzzle for your dog to work on isn't nearly as expensive as you might think and many objects can be bought at the Dollar Tree or your local Walmart. Attached are a few links to my favorite DIY enrichment toys:
What about the exercise? Don't we need to find ways to get that in? Yes, a tired pet is a well behaved pet and you will notice a decrease in behavior issues if you have a pet who has been properly exercised. However how are we supposed to get our pets exercised when the weather is less than ideal? Many people think that just putting your pet outside is enough to give them exercise however, it is essentially the same as us doing the same physical activities each day, it doesn't make them tired anymore. Here are some of my favorite games to play with my dogs to help exercise them!
Agility (or other dog sports) - This is a great tool to try new things with your dog! They have to go over obstacles, crawl and jump! You can even practice by making makeshift objects at your house for your dog
Hall ball - Take a ball and toss it down the hall, this is a great way to incorporate fetch in on a day where the weather is less than perfect.
Stair fetch - This is the same as hall ball but with stairs, and a great way to make your pet extra tired.
Doggie playdate - This one is just as much fun as it sounds! Invite some friendly dogs over and have a pawty! They can also go to daycare for the day if you feel like going out but know that you won't be able to get that walk in before the weather sets in.
Hide and seek - One of my all time favorites-- pick a spot in the house, hide from your pup, recall your pup and have a party when they find you!
Learn a new trick - Ya'll shouldn't be surprised the dog trainer is suggesting training as an exercise tool.... Teaching your dog a new trick though, such as to jump or crawl is a great way to add in some exercise! For those of you who know my training style and trick style, you know that I like functional tricks that are also a work out!
Come tornado - A fun game that ALSO works on recall! Reward your dog for coming to you and running around you by tossing a treat out for them! You're teaching the dog to not only race to your side but also to come back to you with speed and intensity!
Shopping trip - Dog friendly stores are always a great way to get exercise when the weather is less than ideal for a walk! Not only do you get to practice training in distracting environments but you also get to exercise in a nice and dry environment!
For a fun list of things to do in your backyard with your dog check out!
As always, if you have any questions you know where to find me!