Rainy Day Games!

by Emily Freeman. Photos Rachel Taunton // February 2018

Unimpressed with the weather, but still full of energy!

Christmas has come and gone but the days are still upsettingly short and dark, not to mention cold and wet. You may find yourself peering un-happily out of the window while Fido sits behind you holding his lead waiting for a walk. While your dog will continue to need physical exercise to stay happy and healthy over the winter period, these activities will help burn off some mental energy on an occasional night (or day!) when it’s blowing a gale and you can’t face going out!

Hide and Seek

This is a great game for improving your dog’s stay and recall commands. If your dog already has a good stay, you can ask him (or her) to sit and stay in one room of the house while you go and hide somewhere else. When you are suitably hidden, call your dog and see how fast they can find you! Make a big deal of your dog when they track you down – a game of tug or a tasty treat normally go down well! If your dog doesn’t have a solid stay, you can get someone else to hold your dog while you hide, and then release him when you call.

Tug

Use a game of tug to teach good mouth manners

Many dogs LOVE a good game of tug. Tug is a great way to burn off some energy while teaching your dog to be careful as to where they put their teeth. Offer your dog a tuggy toy and tell him to “take it”. Some dogs won’t need any more encouragement than that! If yours is a little more reluctant, try waggling it and dragging it on the floor to make it more interesting. Once your dog has had a good tug, take a really tasty treat and swap it with your dog for the toy, saying “drop” as you do. You can then start the game again – sometimes you “win”, sometimes he does! If your dog gets a bit too exuberant and careless with his teeth then the game ends – this way he learns that if he plays carefully he can have loads of fun!

Find it!

Your dog has an excellent nose and likes to use it! Take some small tasty morsels, and drop one where your dog can see it and tell him to “find it”. He will probably already have pounced on it and gobbled it up! That’s fine. Once he has got the idea that the hunt is on for grub, shut him out of the room and scatter a few treats on the floor. Let him in and tell him to find. As he gets better and starts snuffling around more you can hide the treats in ever trickier places to really give his nose a workout! If you use your dog’s dinner he’ll get a great mental work out at the same time as filling his belly for the night!

Train a Trick

Douglas showing off his favourite way to earn some cheese!

A new training challenge will get your dog thinking and build the bond you have with your dog. From teaching a new trick to expanding on their current repertoire, the options are endless. Grab your treats or toys and make it fun! A ten-minute training session will often tire an active dog out more than an hour walk, leaving you both happy, satisfied and dry! Whichever trick you settle on, just be sure that your dog is physically comfortable performing it – you don’t want any accidental injuries. Soon you’ll have the best set of party tricks to show off to your doggy friends!

Do you have a puppy, adult or golden oldie who needs a little bit of help with their training? Or maybe you and your dog have a few other skills you could brush up on while discovering fun new ways to bond with your furry friend? Either way, get in touch! We run classes for all ages, sizes and types of dogs, and would love to help you help your dog. You can call us on 07920658645, email us at SouthWalesDogSchool@dogstrust.org.uk  and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at dogschoolsw.