A lot of us Floridians find ourselves cooped up inside during certain months due to rainy weather every afternoon. For our dogs, this only means less walks, exercise and time to explore the outside world. Of course, we all know that a lack of this physical and mental stimulation can lead to a world of bad habits in many dogs. Here are some easy and fun dog tricks and games you can play inside during those bad weather days to keep your puppies stimulated.
1. The Laundry Basket Game
This game is excellent for the shy dog. It will help build a dog’s confidence as well as play to the needs of your dog’s hunting skills!
- Simply hide some treats under an upturned laundry basket, or any basket with holes large enough that the dog can see and smell the goodies, and encourage your dog to “Get It”!
- Tip: Always set your dog up for success with each trick. If your dog is super shy to approach the basket then lift a corner for any new paw tap or nose touch in the beginning, so they can achieve a reward. Encourage them to keep trying instead of wandering away.
This is a great trick for the more athletic dogs in my house and is a fun game to pass the time!
- For this game, you will need any size ball and a way to set up a place to mark your goal area such as cones, 2 chairs, etc.
- Start by dropping a treat beneath the ball and encourage your dog to nudge the ball with his nose to get to the treat.
- Continue adding treats behind the ball so your dog becomes more proficient in moving the ball.
- Once your dog figures out the fun of this game, start adding in some cues. I say “Soccer” when I want them to bump the ball and I encourage them to bump it by touching the ball with my feet (just like you would if you were playing with people).
- Fade out the treats under the ball once he/she understands how to “Soccer”. Of course, bumping the ball can still earn a reward from your hand and if they can bump it into a goal, that earns a jackpot!
- Tip: Setting up some type of chute for the ball to roll through (such as 2 poles on the ground, in between 2 pieces of furniture, etc.) can be helpful in the very beginning stages to control the ball from bouncing all over the place.
3. The Cookie On A String Game!
This game is a great logic test and encourages your dog to figure out his own way how to conquer the task at hand.
- Start by tying a cookie to the end of a string (such as a shoestring) or small rope.
- Put the cookie under a piece of furniture, such as your couch, just out of reach of your dog, with the string sticking out.
- Let your dog see you put it under, then encourage him/her to find a way to pull the string and get the treat
- **Be careful!** Once they pull it in, make sure you break off the cookie so they don’t try to eat the string!
So your pup has mastered The Cookie On A String Game? Try this advanced version!
- This trick game starts behind some type of railing, such as a staircase. Hang the string or rope with the cookie attached through the railing, over the side.
- Now your dog has to learn how to pull up the rope! Remember, this trick is a little harder so be patient in the learning process and reward any baby steps in the right direction, such as pawing or nosing at the rope.
5. Wipe Your Paws!
This trick is one of the most important and well used ones in our house of 20 paws!
- A must have trick during rainy season and a great release for the diggers in your life.
- Hide a treat under a corner of a mat.
- As he/she explores different ways to try to get to the treat they will eventually paw at the mat. Be ready for this and immediately flip up the corner so they can get the treat.
- As your dog improves, start waiting until 2 or 3 wipes before he gets the treat reward.
- Lastly, once he/she is wiping the mat well, start to eliminate the treat under the mat and add some cues. I say “Wipe Your Paws” and I wipe my feet on the mat so they learn to mimick my behavior.
I hope these dog tricks and games encourage you to challenge your pups in new ways this season and many more to come! Want to learn some new tricks? Sign up for our Trick Class today!
Kim Mayes CPDT-KA, CTDI, DN-FSG
Rockin’ Dawgs Trick & Stunt Dog Team