As the coronavirus restriction extends, dogs and people are getting more nervous every day due to lack of exercise. While the physical exercise the two of you can do while turning it on is limited, there are plenty of indoor dog games for you to enjoy together.
In recent years, behavioral scientists have refuted the previous assumption that dogs’ brains are quite limited. (Scientists are now recognizing that canines have extensive cognitive abilities, which has led to an entirely new line of dog toys, games, and training protocols. Because thinking is very strenuous (remember studying for that chemistry exam?), Those are really good news This brain exercise can be just as strenuous and fun as physical exercise.
Here are some of our favorite indoor dog games to help you and your dog weather social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic:
While there are interactive toys available commercially, you can also make toys out of things you have at home. Here are some DIY ideas:
Muffin Tin Game: Take a muffin tin and as many tennis balls as your can has cups. Put a treat in each cup and squeeze a tennis ball into the cup. Show your dog that there is a treat under the ball if needed, then hold the can while he works to regain the treats.
Tootsie Rug Roll: Let your dog watch you roll up a carpet runner as you drop treats every six to twelve inches into the runner. When the carpet is fully rolled up, say “Find it!” and let her figure out how to burp the roll to get to the goodies. Sometimes feed their meals this way!
Look closely: Place three opaque drinking cups on the floor (wooden or vinyl flooring works best). Show your dog a treat and put it under a mug. Say “Find it!” and wait until she can nose one of the cups. If she does, take the mug. When the treat is there, let her eat it. If not, say cheerfully “What a shame!” Put the treat and cups back and repeat the process. If she reliably sticks the right mug up her nose 8 out of 10 times, take the next step: place the treat under a mug and mix two of the three mugs once. The delicacy is now moved one place. Say “Find it!” Take the mug she’s sniffing. If it’s there, let them eat it. If not, say “What a shame!” and repeat. When she has successfully completed 8 out of 10 attempts, increase the level of difficulty by first mixing all three cups briefly and then longer.
Cognition means “mental processes associated with the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, including thinking, knowing, remembering, judging and solving problems”. As we learn more about recognizing dogs, we add even more creativity to our training.
Related: Are Canines Cognitive?
Here are some simple knowledge exercises:
Choice: Let your dog watch you close a treat with one fist. Offer him both closed fists and say “You choose!” Open the fist he sniffs first. When the treat is there, let him eat it. If not, say “What a shame!” and repeat. If he chooses the treatment fist 8 out of 10 times, generalize “You choose” to other situations and let him state his choice. Go to the door and say, “Inside or outside? You choose! “Let his body language tell you what he wants and honor his choice. Take him for a walk on a leash and when the path divides say,” Either way? You choose! ” Do this (and many more) as often as you can and he will happily understand what it means if you give him a choice.
Do you want more tips? Read Pro-Choice from the November 2016 issue.
Object discrimination: Start with objects that your dog is already interacting with. Say “Ball, Touch!” and invite him to touch it with his nose or paw. Repeat this process until it does it immediately and reliably, and then do so with a second familiar object: “Fluffy, touch!” Now hold both objects with one object closer to you and ask him to touch the object that is closer. Repeat this process and swap it out randomly. Gradually decrease the offset until both are the same distance and he can reliably touch the desired object 8 or 10 times. Now add more objects to his repertoire, including new objects that you name.
There are many more cognitive and interactive games that you can teach your dog including reading, color discrimination, imitation, and painting.
Nowadays, the fun you can have indoors with your dog is only limited by your imagination and creativity. Time to get busy!
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