Ever noticed how dogs seem to disappear from the streets and parks during winter?
In really bad weather when it is more challenging to walk your dog as often as normal other tactics can be used to stimulate your pet. 20 minutes of working your dogs brain and making him think will tire him/her more than an hours run in the park.
In the house set aside 10 minutes and go back to basics and brush up on all your general obedience commands like sit, stay, down and come.
Hide toys/treats around the room for your dog to find.
If you don’t already have one get a Kong toy or food ball and fill with pieces of carrot / apple / peanut butter. Dogs can have lots of fun retrieving the food.
There are plenty of mind puzzle games that can be found on the internet to stimulate mental exercise.
Use your garden to practice focus exercises…..This is when your dog is encouraged to and wants to give you eye contact.
1) Put your dog in the sit position, then tell him/her to stay(always use a hand signal) then start to SLOWLY circle your dog The objective is to complete the circle without your dog moving and keeping focus on you. Give lots of praise at the end. If your dog moves simply put him/her back in the sit position and repeat. Gradually over days make the circle bigger and bigger. Use a lead / long line for extra control of excitable dogs. Practice each exercise a maximum of 4 times. 5-10 minutes of training twice a day is sufficient. Any more may be too tiring for the dog and you end up with bad behaviour.
2) Teach your dog to sit and stay by your side ,throw an object allow your dog to fetch and return to you. Give lots of praise. All these simple exercises can be done in the house (If the room is large enough) or garden /driveway. Daily mental stimulation will help prevent the bad behaviours like destruction and hyperness that can result from boredom and lack of exercise.