Tip of the Month

3/11/2013 Cabin Fever (aka Extended Indoor Boredom)

Stuck Inside With Your Dog?

Getting sufficient outdoor time with your dog can be difficult if you donít have ready access to safe walking areas or dog parks. If you live in an area that has harsh winters and wet springs outdoor activities involving you and your dog can also be curtailed.

Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation

Being housebound for extended periods can result in restlessness for your dog and you. Dogs of all types require daily exercise and mental stimulation to take away stress and prevent destructive problem behaviors. When dogs have too much energy, and no positive way to release it, they will display what most owners consider to be bad or problem behaviors. To help alleviate this, you can create a variety of reward-based indoor games and activities for your dog.

Breed Specific Games

The best way to determine which activities will engage your dog, you should design games that stimulate drives that are specific to her breed. All dogs were bred for different purposes or have certain characteristics that call for different types of interaction. For example, Labradors were bred to retrieve small game and objects. Different variations of fetch or hide and seek are the most beneficial for this breed.

Games For Dogs In The Herding Group

Herding group dogs, such as the Australian Shepherd, were specifically bred to herd livestock. A fun exercise for a natural herder is following or herding a laser-pen beam. By moving the beam in various directions, you can give your dog the illusion that she is herding the beam to a specific location. Please note: If you elect to use a laser device never shine it in anyoneís eyes, including your petís.

Games For Dogs In The Hound Group

In the hound group, dogs often show marked interest in different scents and motions. A great game to stimulate hound dogs involves hiding various training treats throughout the home and allowing your dog to track the scent and earn the reward when she finds it.

What Motivates Your Dog?

All dogs are motivated and driven by certain things. As a dog owner, itís important to determine your dogís motivations and sensitivities. This will help determine the games or activities that best suite your dog. If you have trouble researching what best motivates your dogís breed, you can contact your local certified dog trainer or veterinarian for more information on her breedís characteristics.

All games and interactions should be rewarding to your dog. If it is not a rewarding activity, your dog will not form a positive association with the activity and she will most likely not repeat in the future.

By Josh Sunga, ABCDT

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