While we have certainly been experiencing some beautiful weather this winter, there are still some days it is simple COLD! So how can you help your dog to get the energy relief that it needs each day? Here are a couple of ideas:
You are playing hide and go seek, canine style! Make it easy at first. Hide in a room close to the dog’s stay in an obvious location. Progressively move farther away from the dog and hide in sneakier places. If your dog doesn’t have a strong enough stay to do this at the moment, get a partner. While you hide, have your partner enforce the “stay.” Once the dog is released to go find you, your partner should take that opportunity to hide. When your dog reaches you, your celebration of praise should be loud enough for your partner to hear. When you’re done praising, put the dog in a sit-stay to wait for your partner’s call.
You can turn the game of “Hide and Go Seek” into a game of “Find It” by training your dog to find an OBJECT rather than YOU. This lets them use their noses and forces concentration. This will cause an additional burn on their mental energy supply.
As they improve, increase the difficulty by hiding the lure under a towel, or behind a door. When they find it, praise! Accelerate to locations in other rooms and in more difficult hiding spaces. If your dog begins to get frustrated, and cannot find the goal, make sure to slow down and go back to easier hiding spots for a few rotations to regain confidence.
Eventually, you can tie this game to any object: Toy, Shoe, Keys, etc by showing the dog an object, saying its name, and treating the dog several times. Keys! Treat. Keys! Treat. Then hide the keys. Give the dog the command “Find the Keys!” and watch them go to work. Remember, the slower the acceleration of difficulty and the more praise a dog gets during this process, the faster and better the dog will get at the game. Repetition and consistency are the keys to your success. If the dog is getting frustrated, or you are getting stressed, simply pause and return to your practice at a later time. It is a game. It should be fun!
© 2013 Well Mannered Dog Training Charleston, SC