As the weather becomes colder and the days get shorter, you may spend more time indoors with your dog in the coming months. However, your dog still needs physical and mental stimulation despite the cold and dark world around.
A good game of fetch outside may be impossible, but you can consider running your dog on the treadmill. In addition to physical activity, your dog also needs mental stimulation.
One of my favorite ways to mentally stimulate a dog is to play hide-and-seek. This game is pretty self-explanatory: put your dog in a sit or down position and you hide something (usually a toy or treat). Upon release, your dog searches, finds and eats what has been hidden.
Once your dog understands the game and performs well, you can raise the difficulty by changing some variables to get an even better mental workout.
- Turn off all the lights and let your dog focus more on his nose than on his eyes when playing at night.
- A stuffed or treat hidden under a small welcome mat or blanket. Once the dog has located the object, he still has to figure out how to reach it.
- Place the object above the dog’s direct line of sight and smell
- Increase the time between hiding an object and retrieving the dog
- Objects can be hidden and you will see how many can the dog find.
- Increase difficulty on the hiding spots. For example, leave the dog downstairs and hide the object upstairs.
It is very easy to take a simple game and turn it into a great thought experiment for your dog. Use your imagination and get creative! Your dog will thank you!