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Indoor Games to keep your pooch happy

Stuck inside with your dog? Or do you know you have to leave your dog alone for long periods of time?

When dogs get bored, they can engage in unwanted behaviours ranging from restlessness, to excessive barking, to chewing furniture. So instead of letting your dog to get bored, try some sniffing games!

Sniffing Is a great activity for dogs. It activates the brain's pleasure centers. When a dog sniffs something it finds interesting, the brain releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical that can create a sense of pleasure and satisfaction.

Have you ever seen a dog get really excited and focused when it smells something intriguing? It might just be a patch of grass, or a pile or leaves, but to your pup, it is absolutely riveting!

Fun fact:

Dogs have up to 300 million smell receptors in their noses, compared to just 6 million in us puny humans. They would be able to smell the equivalent of a drop of sweat in a space as big as an olympic sized swimming pool!

Game 1

Here is a game we really love. It'll provide mental stimulation for your pup, and strengthen the bond between you. You only need yourself, your pup and some treats.

  1. Give your dog a treat to let them know you have something tasty.

  2. Place a treat on the ground, point to the treat and say “find it”.

  3. Repeat until your dog starts looking for the treat when you say “find it”.

  4. Make it harder by tossing the treat or placing it slightly behind or under something. You can even try using many plastic cups and placing a treat under just one of them. This game can also turn into hide n’ seek with treats.

You can make this game even harder by playing outside! The extra scents and sounds will add to the distraction. Throw treats in the grass or on the pavement.

You can even use it in an emergency; if your dog is stressed, distracted or you need to get the dog's attention before a situation escalates this is an easy go-to.

Game 2

Your pup might love a game of hide-and-seek with their humans! This is another great way to get them to use their noses.

  1. Start by putting your dog in a 'stay'.

  2. Being as quiet as you can, hide in another room.

  3. In an excited tone, call their name and 'come' command.

  4. Reward your pooch with treats and love when they find you.

This is a game the whole family can play. Supervised, it's a safe way for kids to interact with dogs without play becoming rough.

Game 3

Obstacle courses for cats and dogs were all the rage on the socials during lockdown. People got very creative with the things that were used to create the obstacle courses. You could always purchase fancy agility training equipment, but simply brooms, chairs, and cushions could be enough to create exciting routes for your pup to navigate. What you want is a varied course that makes your dog climb, crawl and jump over the obstacles. Letting your dog try to figure it out for themselves is a great way to get some mental stimulation into their day.

  1. Create a narrow path (perhaps in a corridor) where you can put some small obstacles.

  2. If your dog isn't sure how to get through, give them encouragement and guide them through with verbal cues.

  3. Reward with cuddles and treats!

What games do you play with your dog? Let us know!

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