Stir Crazy?

Roka at gate in snow 20160124

My dogs all like the snow but I have to be creative to keep them from getting too stir crazy.  They are used to spending a good deal of time playing outside and going for walks.  The massive amount of snow we got recently has changed our normal routine.  Outside time is shorter and they don’t have as much space to run around.

We’ve been spending more time playing in the basement. Gambit is working on discriminating between tunnel and mat and playing lots of tug and some fetch.  Roka and Clover are playing some ball and working on some conditioning.  They are all eating out of food dispensing toys and running around in the snow, as much as possible.  Kira is working on walking! And today Gambit and I worked on some crate games. He is learning to put his chin down in his crate.
Dog with chin down in crate

To provide your dog with some additional activity, you can creatively use some household items.  Empty boxes are great for nose games where your dog hunts for food in boxes and good for playing 101 things to do with a box (, including teaching get in the box.  Boxes can also be used for cavaletti where your dog steps through multiple low boxes to work on confidence and body awareness.  Large cardboard boxes can also be used to create tunnels for a home made agility course.

The muffin tin game is also a favorite where you can use a muffin tin, some kibble or treats and your dog’s toys:

If your dog likes the snow and to use his nose, you can find or make a place in the yard where the snow is low, scatter some of his kibble and let him hunt around for it. (This may not be appropriate in a multiple dog home if any of the dogs are resource guarders.)

And there are always tricks to teach!  Some favorites include figure 8s, heeling, play dead/take a nap, roll over, back up and spin.

Here are a few how-to videos from my Certified Trick Dog Instructor Application.  The figure 8 one is good for a laugh – Clover has quite a sense of humor 🙂

And make sure to do something nice for yourself!  Entertaining your dog for multiple days after a snowstorm can be quite a project!

Dog head down in snow

1 Comment

  1. January 29, 2016    

    Wonderful ideas!

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