Exercising your dog during Winter

Dexter needs to be engaged in rigorous play every day!

Dexter needs to be engaged in rigorous play every day!

Our dog Dexter absolutely loves going to the dog park. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for us to get him there with our work schedules. With the cold winter weather quickly looming and the sun setting earlier, our options to help Dexter drain energy will soon be limited. We recently came across a fun interactive game you can play with you dog inside. All you need is small training treats and some time to spare!

The Whole Dog Journal is a trusted resource that provides reliable information on virtually every topic, and we'll be sure to post the link to this article below. The game is pretty simple; hide treats and let your dog sniff them out. Apparently nose work takes a lot out of them! Here's the scoop:

Find it. Most dogs love to use their noses. Take advantage of this natural talent by teaching yours the “Find It!” game:

1. Start with a handful of pea-sized tasty treats. Toss one to your left and say “Find it!” Then toss one to your other side and say “Find it!” Do this back and forth a half-dozen times.

2. Then have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash. Walk 10 to 15 feet away and let him see you place a treat on the floor. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.

3. Next, have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash and let him see you “hide” the treat in an easy hiding place: behind a chair leg, under the coffee table, next to the plant stand. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.

4. Again, have your dog sit and wait. This time hide several treats in easy places while he’s watching. Return to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” Be sure not to help him out if he doesn’t find them right away.

You can repeat the “find it” cue, and indicate the general area, but don’t show him where it is; you want him to have to work to find it.

5. Hide the treats in harder and harder places so he really has to look for them: surfaces off the ground; underneath things; and in containers he can easily open.

6. Finally, put him in another room while you hide treats. Bring him back into the room and tell him to “Find it!” and enjoy watching him work his powerful nose to find the goodies. Once you’ve taught him this step of the game you can use it to exercise him by hiding treats in safe places all over the house, and then telling him to “Find it!” Nose work is surprisingly tiring.

If you prefer something less challenging, just go back to Step 1 and feed your dog his entire meal by tossing pieces or kibble from one side to the other, farther and farther, with a “Find it!” each time. He’ll get a bunch of exercise just chasing after his dinner!

Happy playing everyone! As promised, here's the link to the article.

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/14_5/features/Training-Hyperactive-Dogs_20259-1.html