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We are stronger together than we are alone!

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frozenfaucet1My pipes have frozen. The weather forecast is not looking any better. The TV weather lady is explaining the current forecasts. " the Midwest and Northern Plains  -- digging out from as much as 2 feet of snow, dealing with the effect of blizzard-level winds, and feeling the heat of below-zero temperatures....." I am getting cabin fever and the dogs energy levels are driving me crazy. I can’t take them outside for some physical exercise..  I have got to do something to change this. What can I do?

 Well doggies lets get out of this funk! LETS PLAY SOME GAMES!   Last time we found ourselves caught inside, no thanks to the weather, we managed to find some games that helped not only the dogs burn off some energy, but I laughed myself silly.


One of the games we played last time that seemed to work was a simple Doggy Treat Hunt. So I just grabbed a hand full of some smelly treats and leaving the wagging tails behind the doggie door went off to the bedrooms and hid them around the rooms. It did not take much encouragement and they were off, one in each room searching out  the treats.  I relaxed, leaning against the doorway and watched them sniff away... Sure, that did not take a lot of time, but I had their attention.

bttuginside1There are other games you can play in the house on these awful days where you are stuck indoors.

At the same time you can also be teaching basic skills that will be so useful. One that helps not only release inner frustration but it helps you bond with your dog, is the basic game of Tug of War.  By adding a slight twist, you can teach her how to “get it” and “let go,” all while getting in a good exercise. Try to teach your dog not to grab the toy until you say so. Do this by rewarding her for staying while you leave the toy on the ground.  Once she has that down, move on to the action word “get it!” This will teach her that she is allowed to grab the toy. Now you can initiate the game. Another teaching moment would be to teach your dog to let go, using words like "drop" or "Let go". Once your dog releases the toy, reward her immediately. Keep practicing this as it’s probably the trickiest command a dog can learn in this game. Once she has that down, put them all together and have a fun and educational game of tug of war.frenchie frogcrawl


A really easy one to teach is crawl. All you have to do is to get him to lie “down” and then drag a treat in-front of him. It's lots of fun and it's a great way to get rid of some energy. You may be able to teach your crazy, energetic, eager to please dogs in a very short time .


 And if you have kids, here are more games they can play. Get your camera ready, because there will be some amazing photos and short videos for you to take...

obsticalcourseinsideYou can also construct an OBSTACLE COURSE  inside your home with the help of a few everyday objects, like a couple of old blankets (or towels, whichever you prefer).  You may decide to get really creative. Clear out enough space in the living room so your dog can run freely without hurting himself or your valuables. Place one or two rolled-up blankets on the ground (depending on how tall or agile your dog is). Walk your dog through the course and have him hop over the blanket a couple of times. Once he’s got the hang of it, ask him to stay at one end of the room and then call him from the other end. He’ll use the rolled-up blankets as a fun and safe hurdle. If you find that your dog is an expert at this game, mix it up and use a few more rolled-up blankets throughout his “course.” If you have young children they will soon be joining in for a round of fun too. And then you can add more items for them to do, taking turns at being the coach or trainer.  

Get the kids involved playing HIDE AND SEEK

Tell your dog to "stay", or have one of the kids hold the dog’s collar, while the other person dashes off and hides. Both kids should stuff their pockets with great treats.  As soon as the person finds a fun hiding spot they should call the dog and encourage him with every step “Rover, Come…good boy, come, good boy, good boy, good boy COME!”  this excitement and encouragement gives him the motivation to find the child. When he finds the first hidden child, the child praises him and gives him a treat, while person #2 dashes off to hide. Repeat this process.  In the beginning, they might hide in easy spots, like just in the next room, as play continues, they will enjoy hiding in funny places like in the bathtub, under the table or in his crate.  The one rule, have fun and enjoy, your dog has a sense of humor, make him laugh!

Teach your dog it's ABCs

How many toys does your dog know the names of? Increase his vocabulary by teaching him to retrieve each toy by name. Start with his two favorites and teach him to fetch them by name one at a time in a room with no other toys to choose from. If he isn’t a naturally motivated retriever; use lots of praise, hug, or treats to reward the good fetches. Once he knows the names of two toys, put both on the floor and ask him to fetch them one at a time. Reward correct choices with whatever turns his crank, and by continuing the game. Respond to incorrect choices by repeating the request, and eventually guiding him toward the right toy if he really needs help. If he can succeed with two, try three or more. This is really tough brain work, so expect to build up his vocabulary very gradually. If you think you might have a doggie Einstein on your hands, check out Rico, the world-famous Border Collie with a 200-word vocabulary.
Well that is a start of some inside fun.  What games do you play with your dog when everyone is stuck inside?