So you want to be the best dog parent ever?!
There are just so many opportunities for you to provide your dog with an enriching life, training is just one piece of the puzzle. Scroll through this page for tips, tricks, and ideas for ways to engage with your dog and do more!
Take your dog on a Sniff-ari!
A Sniff-ari is a sniffing safari! Our usual walks with our dogs are so structured and we often focus on keeping our dogs attention and making sure they stay well within the limits of their 6-foot leash. While teaching great leash manners is so important for all dogs to learn, it's okay to put your manners aside now and then and let your dog decide what to do and where to go on a walk. Make sure you have a special harness so your dog knows its okay to pull when wearing it. We suggest using any style that clips in the back along with a 10-15 foot leash. Take your dog out and simply follow them where they'd like to go (within reason of course!) Let them sniff what they'd like to sniff, follow them through the woods, and let them dig up the leaves of a deer bed and huff the grass where the neighbors dog peed. Have fun with your dog!
Food enrichment is providing your dog with a challenging way to acquire their food. When a dog is born the very first thing they do is begin searching for food. They then spend the rest of their lives getting food for free! By providing them with food enrichment during meal time they are being both mentally and physically challanged which can make all the difference to a bored dog. A great way to start is simply by finding a juice bottle with a lid that is large enough to not be a choking hazard. Cut a few holes in the plastic just a little larger than the size of your dogs kibble. During meal time simply put your dogs portion of food in the bottle, screw the cap back on and offer it to your dog. This way they have to bat the bottle around for a few pieces of kibble to come out! There are so many commercial options for food enrichment toys as well! Try them out and see what your dog enjoys the most.
Trixie Flip Board
JW Rockin Treat Ball
Teaching your dog to do tricks is so much more than it seems. A lot of tricks translate directly to an obedience cue or can help build body awareness which can help your dogs movement in all behaviors! Besides all that, its so much fun! Titling your dogs in tricks is now easier than ever! Unlike other competitive dog sports, you can earn your dogs title one-on-one with a trainer or even by video submission making this an excellent opportunity for dogs with social anxiety or other behavior problems. Want to learn more about trick dog titles? Check out Do More With Your Dog or AKC Trick Dog.
K9 Nose Work
K9 Nose Work is a dog sport that utilizes all dogs natural searching and hunting abilities. Inspired by working detection dogs, this fun sport teaches your dog to hunt for their favorite treat or toy among a few boxes. Target odors are then introduced to make it even more challenging. As each dog progresses, more boxes are added. The search becomes more difficult when we take it outside, add different containers, expand to whole rooms, and even vehicles! K9 Nose Work is structured in a way that both in class and in competition, only one dogs works at a time making this the perfect dog sport for reactive, fearful and shy dogs. Did you know that Louise is a Certified Nose Work Instructor? It's a passion of ours and its so wonderful to watch a dogs nose work! Check out our Group Class page to join one of our K9 Nose Work classes or visit the National Association of Canine Scent Work to find an instructor in your area!
Check out Manzo and Louise in their exterior search at a NACSW
NW1 trial. They do not know where the hide is and the purpose of the search is for Manzo to find the odor and for Louise to call Alert!
101 Things To Do with a Box.
There's literally 101 things your dog could do to engage with a simple object, like a box. Not only is this a fun game for them but it's also a great way to challenge their minds during the colder months. Watch this video on this game and see how you could modify this game for your dog. Free shaping is great way to start and lets your dog make all the decisions in the game. Luring with treats could be a good way to start for some dogs too. Try dropping a few treats inside a box, or other container, and encourage your dog to take the treats. Slowly work up over time to doing other tasks. 2 paws in the box, all 4, sitting in the box, lying down in the box etc. Get creative and make sure to have fun with your dogs too!