Five simple ways to keep your dog happy indoors or in the garden.
There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment, but one thing is unchanged: our dogs need and love us as much as we do them. Alison, Ruff and Tumble’s owner, is with her dogs in Norfolk and will be for many weeks it seems. She says the dogs are keeping her going and we suspect that for a lot of you it’s the same. It’s hard to believe that our lives have changed so much, so quickly, but we live in a fast-changing world right now so we thought it may be helpful to look at ways to stimulate your dog inside or in smaller spaces.
- Hide and Seek
If your dog can understand ‘stay’ this is the simplest game and dogs really love it. They never get bored of it and really love finding you.
- Interactive games for indoors or Garden
This is where you play with him one on one – he’ll love the attention and the stimulation. Tug of war is again, simple, but most dogs enjoy it. It’s good exercise for both of you and gives a lot of mental stimulation. Giving dogs attention helps to reduce anti-social behaviours like chewing and barking too. If your dog has a good ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’ command, this game can be played with control and no bad manners. Stop the game if your dog gets too rough or they start to mouth you. Another great game is ‘fetch’ with a soft ball – it doesn’t have to be thrown high, fast or far for a dog to find it exciting. They just love the fact that you are playing with them and they have your attention.
Avoid fetch games on a slippery floor as it’s really not good for a dog’s joints and could well end up with a trip to the vet.
3. Create an obstacle course if you have any Ruff and Tumble items to hand - use them to build a course and test your dog's agility. Make a tunnel from a Bed Cover/Sofa Throw and chairs, or practice weaving around a pair of rolled up Drying Mitts and a Drying Coat. If you have a couple of our Leads, tie them to chair legs to make small jumps. You do not need lots of new and expensive equipment. Learn one obstacle at a time and reward with treats. Add another obstacle once the first is learnt. Keep the course the same every session until they have mastered it.
4. Find the Treats
This amuses Ella, who belongs to Liz, our Wholesale Manager, for hours! Start off with the treats that are easy to find, (think Easter Egg hunts for toddlers), and gradually make it harder. Their sniffing ability will develop slowly, so encourage them gradually to find them in some tricky places. It’s always fun seeing them go back to a spot where they remember finding one last time, so keep them on their toes.
5. Fun with toys
If your dog has a big box of toys and if they don’t have names, name each one and then teach them to find a specific toy. Start with a favourite one, because that will keep their attention. Name it and then use that name every time you play with it and pick it up. Once they recognise the name you can play ‘fetch it’ by naming it and, who knows, even get them to bring the toys to you to put away?