As the autumn leaves begin to fall, the temperature drops and the days become shorter, it’s often difficult to work up the motivation to take your dog out for a walk everyday.
Even though it may be pouring outside, they will give you those eyes that plead to you “Please, let’s do something together!” You know, as a responsible pet owner that they are right and need their daily exercise.
Thankfully there are other ways to get in their daily physical exercise without battling rain, hail or lack of daylight.
Hide and seek: You can either hide treats, toys or yourself for this one. If using treats or toys, put your dog in the laundry or bathroom while you hide their favourite treats/toys around the house. When it’s time to find everything, get them really excited and use the word “seek” as they move around the house. Do a run through search first to show them where the item is, and get really excited when they discover it. They will quickly learn what “seek” means.
If you want to hide yourself, you may need a friend to help you out at the start. Get them to hold onto your dog while you hide, and then release them when you are ready. You may need to call them at first and encourage them with “seek”, but soon your friend will be able to give the command and they will come and find you. Make sure you give them lots of praise and reward them with their favourite treat when they find you.
Puzzling toys: There are a number of puzzle type toys available and most have the option to be filled with food or treats to encourage your dog to play with them. These include Kongs, buster cubes and treat balls. Always supervise your dog at first to make sure they are using it correctly, and to help them learn how to use it.
Training: This is a great way to enhance the bond between you and your dog, as well as keeping them mentally and physically stimulated. Between 10 to 15 minutes a day is usually enough, but in the colder weather you can increase the number of sessions you do so they really get a mental workout.
Use a gentle, positive training method and start off by going over the basics and teaching them simple things such as sit and drop before moving on to more complicated tricks!
Please remember that not all dogs will enjoy these activities the same as going for a walk, as getting into the outdoors stimulates all of their senses so it’s important to do what is right for them! Try mixing it up and see if you can find something they will really enjoy.