It’s freezing outside, which means you and your dog probably don’t want to spend much time outdoors. Your dog probably has lots of energy, since they’re not running it off outside. Here are some ideas for how you can help your dog get some exercise and use up some of that energy.
Teach Your Dog a New Trick
Learning a new skill uses both mental and physical energy. Teach your dog a new skill or perfect an existing one. If you have a Susquehanna Service Dog, work on the skills you’re learning in puppy class, or look in the back of your puppy raiser manual and pick a cue your dog hasn’t learned yet. (Talk to Becky or one of our trainers if you have questions.)
Practice Play Retrieves
Toss a toy down a hallway or across the room and have your dog retrieve it. Use your dog’s favorite toy if they’re reluctant to retrieve.
Play Hide and Seek
This is a great game to practice stays and recalls. Ask your dog to sit or down and stay. Then hide in a different room and call your dog to come. Remember to give your dog lots of treats when they find you! You can play this game in stages, depending on your dog’s skill level. Start by practicing recalls from a short distance and gradually move out of sight. Eventually, you can hide so your dog really needs to search in order to find you.
Set Up an Obstacle Course
Create an obstacle course based on your dog’s skills. Set up chairs and other obstacles for your dog to weave through at your side. Have your dog go under a table or a desk. Create tight spaces for your dog to practice “go on through.” Ask your dog to sit and down at random parts of the obstacle course. Set out different surfaces for your dog to walk over. Have fun with it!
Make Your Dog Work for Food
Instead of giving your dog all their dinner in their regular food dish, put some of it in a treat dispensing toy, or freeze it with some peanut butter in an empty marrow bone or Kong. It will keep your dog occupied and moving around, depending on the toy.
Give Your Dog a Puppy Massage
If your dog just needs to calm down, give them a puppy massage. Ask your dog to sit or down and then gently rub their shoulders, chest, and hips. If your dog rolls over for a belly rub, give them a nice, calm belly rub. By keeping your movements slow and gentle, you may even put your dog to sleep.