Boredom Busters

While many parts of the country are still experiencing “snow days,” we are already seeing “desert days” here in our valley. You know what that means— the weather is heating up, and we’ll all begin adjusting our activities around the 100+° days that will soon become the norm until fall returns.

For our four-legged companions, this usually means shorter walks, fewer trips to the dog park, and less time out of the house, creating a recipe for boredom— that is, canine cabin fever!

So how can you keep your pup from feeling stress during our desert days? Play indoor games of course! “Cognitive” games will help in curing their canine cabin fever. Fun stimulating games come in many forms and essentially create a workout for their brain. Playing these games can give them enough of a workout that they actually get tired.

The next question is, “How do I go about selecting the right games for my dog?” Consider your dogs natural play tendencies. Are they food motivated? Do toys that bounce, wobble or wiggle get their attention? How are they at hide & seek? Do they use their feet or just their mouth? Finding several well-made dog puzzles available for purchase should not be difficult. However, be sure to check reviews to see if it is a fit for your dog’s personality and is durable.

Here are some easy, fun and creative DIY games you can try at home.

“How do I go about selecting the right games for my dog?”

Does your dog have a favorite toy? It can be hidden too, just substitute the treats for the toy.

An easy one to start with is rolling treats into a towel or yoga mat.It will have them playing push with their nose in no time.

These creative games and many more ideas can be found at denkspellenvoorjehond. jouwweb.nl/spellen1

Upside down funnels in a shallow tray or laundry basket that has tasty treats hidden inside will certainly get your pup curious enough to investigate.

The ultimate boredom buster is to sign up for a class with your dog. Look for classes held in an indoor, climatecontrolled facility and pick a time and class that work for you. You’ll likely have the added bonus of a professional trainer helping coordinate challenging and fun activities for you and your dog.

A game that maybe a little bit more difficult is a Treat Tumbler.You can increase the level of difficulty by moving the pivot point further from the center.

Both you and your dog can beat the heat this summer and have some fun together, indoors where it’s comfortable. And it takes just 5 to 15 minutes two or three times day to give your pup a good mental workout.

And a bit of advice: keep your camera handy. You won’t want to miss a shot of your dog showing off his new skills!

Lori Wainio-Carman, VSPDT, professional dog trainer and owner of Dream Dogs, has been successfully training for more than 20 years. 760-899-7272www.dreamdogs.comwww.Positively.com

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