- Hide and seek. Yes. Hide and seek. If your dog knows the "wait" command, put him in a sit or down and tell her to wait. Go hide. Then, call your dog. Your dog has to come and find you. Make sure that you have treats, a toy or a ton of praise for when he finds you.
- Hide and seek variation: use treats instead. Put your dog in a sit/down stay and go hide some treats in places in the house. Go back to your dog, release her and tell her to go find them. Let her use her nose to track down all the treats.
- Basic obedience training. 10-15 minutes of focused training will wear out your dog mentally. This mental activity can be more exhausting than physical activity.
- Flirt pole. If you have never seen what one looks like, it looks like this. You can easily make your own with a lunge whip and a toy. Basic idea is that the dog chases it because it kicks in their prey drive. A 5-10 minute session will wear Garmin out, and he is a ball of endless energy.
- Scent work. Put treats in a box. Leave a few boxes empty. Let your dog sniff out where the treats are.
- Trick training. Think about fun things that you would like your dogs to do. Gracie can put her toys away. She can also give kisses on command. Garmin can give high fives. He can also shake, roll over, take a bow, target my hand. I have friends whose dogs can do handstands. Both of my pups have just learned how to sit pretty. My two have loads of tricks in their arsenal--for no reason other than the fact that it challenged their brains. And they are cute.
- Mat work. It may seem silly, but just making your dogs hold a position for a while can wear them out.
- Clicker training. There is something about it that works a dog's brain more than luring. Some dogs take to it (Garmin loves it) and others don't take to it as well (Gracie was taught by luring...she is not as keen on offering behaviors--but she is learning to LOVE the clicker, so she is proof that all dogs can learn new things). It takes some practice to get the coordination and timing on your part, but when your dog starts to reason things out for himself, you will see his brain moving and he will wear himself out.
- 101 Things to do with a box. Yes. A box. If you are like me, you get a lot of stuff shipped to you. Don't let those boxes go to waste! Both my dogs jump into boxes now. A downfall of the exercise, but they love it.
- Interactive dog toys. Kong Wobbler. Busy Buddy has lots of interactive toys.Nina Ottosson has a ton of interactive toys in various levels of difficulty. You can even make your own with a cupcake pan and some toys. Put some food or treats in the cups and cover the holes with toys. Then your dog has to sniff out the treats. Mine looks like this:
Ten things to do for busy dogs
If you have a busy dog, you probably often feel he is laughing at you when you try to keep him busy. I define a busy dog as one who has a hard time sitting still--who will pace and pace and never really settle. I had never owned a busy dog until Garmin came along. Gracie was EASY compared to him. A nice walk, a little training and she was good. Not him. He goes for a three mile walk, comes home and looks at me like "what's next?" So, here are a few things that you can do to try to keep your busy dog, well, busy.
All of these things will give you and your dog something to do on days that it is rainy, snowy--or days where your dog just can't seem to chill out. If you have other great ideas on how YOU keep your busy dog busy, comment here or email us at LLRcanineobedience@gmail.com. Until next time, enjoy your dog!!!
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LLR Canine Obedience is a science based training company out of Florence, KY. LLR Canine follows LIMA (least invasive, minimally aversive) guidelines when working with all dogs. Owner/Trainer Shannon Dunhoft has been around dogs her whole life and has dedicated numerous years to rescue work. She strives to build lasting bonds between owner and dog and believes that happy training makes happy dogs. Feel free to email with questions about methods or availability.