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Games to play in the house with the dogs?

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  • Games to play in the house with the dogs?

    When it's cold and rainy and nasty, walk times tend to be shorter, leaving my two with some pent-up energy. They need a bit more engagement and stimulation.

    They're about 55 lbs. each, and the house is only about 1400 sf. It's a townhouse, and our yard isn't fenced.

    Does anyone have any indoor games to keep their minds occupied? They'll sometimes get into WWF Canine Smackdown play with each other, but I'd like to have some more interactive time with them besides just belly rubs and grooming.

  • #2
    I just worked on teaching a friend's dog to target when she was up here for Christmas, and she really enjoyed it. It's a simple, simple place to start--put a plastic lid on the ground and click/treat whenever they touch it with their nose.

    I'd pick up a clicker training book for more games you can play It definitely keeps their BRAIN engaged, since they have to think about it and figure it out.

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    • #3
      Hide and Seek. If the weather is lousy or I'm just too lazy to throw the ball for the thousandth time, I play hide and seek. I use my client's 2 car garage (with the cars out ), but you can easily do it in any room that has enough furniture for hiding spots. I get a stuffed toy or treat, and show it to them and get them all excited about it. Then I shut them out of the room while I hide it and then turn them loose to find it. The first few times you'll have to help guide them to it until they figure out what the game is, but they should catch on quickly. Give a command at the same time ("find the ball" or "where is it?"), so they start to associate the request with the action. Pick a different spot each time to mix it up, so they have to work to find it.

      It's entertaining to watch the whippet mix suddenly start to use his nose. His first time or two he stares intently all around the room searching for the toy, then suddenly the light bulb goes on and he switches to trying to find scent.

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      • #4
        "you Snooze You Loose"

        No, wait, that's what the animals play with us....

        You leave your chair and a cat or dog jumps up in it....

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        • #5
          I work with my dog on her obedience hand signals and verbal commands. I also work with her on a longish lead to perfect her fetch(bring back, sit and give). I also work on her hold command(holding something in her mouth and then giving when asked)

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          • #6
            Some get the dogs excited and running wild, a bit too much for indoors.

            Start slow at "find it", with something you cover with a towel, then hide under pillows.

            Work up to when they are good at searching for something, put them on a sit and go in another room to hide stuff, then release them to "find it".

            Try to mix games where you are still and they have to do something with others where they have to be patient and still, static ones.

            We used to go to the basement to train in obedience and the dogs lived for that.
            It made their day, the basement was magic to them.
            We had a smallish round rug there that was "place" and they got extra treats there.
            They ran down the stairs to it and would do a series of sit-down-sit-down-sit ... and then get a jackpot.
            We tried not to do any non obedience tricks there, like roll, shake and such, so they would not do it at an obedience show, like on a long sit, when someone walked by, start offering behaviors, like, "are you ashamed" (paw over nose, taught today with clickers, before that with a piece of scotch tape they pawed at), shaking hands or waving "high fives".
            Don't forget to work up to have them use both paws for each exercise, turn both ways for those that ask for turning, like spins, roll, etc.

            You can make a spare room you keep closed otherwise the interesting place where good stuff happens.

            We trained all the time for stuff we would do in school and library demonstrations, that was done generally indoors and in small spaces, so working indoors was where we trained much of the time.
            Even in agility training you can do some of that indoors, using furniture and broomsticks.
            All our dogs learned "table, sits and downs, pause to a count and go!" on different coffee tables.

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            • #7
              Mine love to play hide and seek with me as the hider.

              Hubs will hold the dogs in one room of the house while I will hide somewhere (behind doors, behind curtains, in the shower behind the shower curtain) and then hubs will tell the boys to 'find mom.' They'll come into rooms where I'm hidden, sniff around, leave, come back, sniff around, leave. Then I'll knock on a wall or make noise, they come back and when they actually find me, they're ecstatic.

              Oftentimes I can see them in the reflection of a mirror or window and the expression on their faces is priceless. They will even bend down to look underneath the bed!
              Random horse pics http://www.flickr.com/photos/glfprncs/
              Talk to me about fitness or nutrition (I'm an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer)!
              My blog! http://personalsweatequity.blogspot.com/

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              • #8
                You may want to invest in a treadmill and teach your dogs to run on them. That can help take some of the energy also

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                • #9
                  Nosework !!! Google it and you will find some fun things that ALL dogs can do with no training.
                  We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!

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                  • #10
                    I play fetch with mine on the stairs. I roll the ball down the steps, and the dog brings it back up. Climbing the stairs works the dog a bit harder and helps burn off energy. Obviously this game isn't a good idea if your dog is a klutz or if your neighbors share a wall with your staircase.

                    I also practice sit stays. I park the dog somewhere, go into another room, call the dog, and praise/treat.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by carp View Post
                      I play fetch with mine on the stairs. I roll the ball down the steps, and the dog brings it back up. Climbing the stairs works the dog a bit harder and helps burn off energy. Obviously this game isn't a good idea if your dog is a klutz or if your neighbors share a wall with your staircase.

                      I also practice sit stays. I park the dog somewhere, go into another room, call the dog, and praise/treat.
                      You may want to mix a proper recall with hiding and have your dog find you when you release it by calling it.
                      Just watch that your dog doesn't start getting anxious and start breaking the sit/down, which may be a problem if you show in obedience and expect your dog to stay put until you come back.

                      Whatever we use for just exercising a dog is best something not routine, change what we do and how we do it and add new stuff, so the dog really has to work at it.

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                      • #12
                        1) Keep Away, which requires a toy and two humans with a high tolerance for being barked at and for laughing so hard you cry.

                        2) Tracking Dog, which requires a food item and a human who is fine bending over and dragging said item around the floor while the dog waits in another room. Also good for teaching dog patience, if you don't have a helper to restrain dog. Hint - hiding food above floor level really makes them work for it; you can see the wheels turn.

                        3) Find The Cat, which requires a resigned cat and a large attic full of junk.

                        4) Dog On Inappropriate Objects, which requires both tall, sturdy furniture and a somewhat reckless disregard for possibly training the dog it's ok to jump onto the diningroom table. The dog I did this with never developed a "habit" about it, but she did take to climbing trees later, so try at your own risk. ed to add - to be clear, the dog jumps on the furniture in question. Not a good idea for awkward jumpers.

                        5) Photo Shoot, which requires a camera, props, an active imagination and a mild streak of cruelty. Classics include dog in a dryer, dog reading the newspaper, and dog wearing kimono. True, this may not be an aerobic exercise for them (unless they run away from you and your advancing madness) but they'll probably be so excited by the attention and the hysterical laughter that it'll be a mild exercise and it's certainly mental.

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                        • #13
                          Our small animal vet spends days on end finding photo-ops for his next year's calendar.
                          Each month has his dogs with suitable clothes and background for the season, very inventive some times, like snorkeling in July, on a hawaiian beach, wearing hawaiian print shirts and flowers in August, etc.

                          Then he makes a calendar he sends to his friends.

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