Saturday, 11 February 2012

Tug Time

Do you ever have mornings where you wake up already exhausted. All you want to do is enjoy your coffee (or tea in my case), relax and stay in your pajamas for a little while? It always seems that the mornings when all you want to do is snooze, that is when your dog is most in your face about getting up and getting going. Kobi personally like to find one of his remaining monkey limbs and just stands with his chin in your lap squeeking  it until your ears bleed. It's mornings like this where the last thing you want to do is venture out into the bitter morning winter cold. We all know dogs need their exercise, but they usually aren't picky about how they get it. Mental exercise can be just as tiring to them as a good long walk, the trick is finding a mental game they are interested in. I've tried games like getting him to learn the difference between his toys and assigning him names and getting him to go and fetch them, but he's usually more interested in tugging with me. So I finally found a game that tires him out, but that he also loves to play. Hide and Seek. You can either play by hiding yourself and calling your dog to come and find you, a great way to work on their recall, or if you live in a smaller space like me with few hiding spots for a full person, why not hide a favourite toy? Kobi loves to play with his tug braid, but loves it even more when he has to find it. He quickly caught onto the game and it was amazing to watch him search for his tug, looking in places he's found it before. This game can be played with any toy, the more he likes it the better. It also works better with an older toy as it has more of an odour to it. This game can also be played on your own or with someone else. If by yourself get your pooch to stay in either a sit or a down while you go hide the toy (this is also great for working on their stay). If you are playing with a dog that hasn't learned to stay yet (new rescues or puppies) get a family member or friend to distract your dog or play with them while you hide the toy. Play this game for a good 10 to 15 minutes and your pup should be snoozing in no time!
To make sure your dog enjoys the game start off by hiding the toy out in the open in easily accessible places. Once they get the hang of it start hiding it in more and more challenging places. Also keep in mind the colour of your toy, a blue toy on a blue rug may not be visible to them, eventually they should be able to use their nose to find the toy but to start with make it fun and positive.

You'll notice that Kobi is a bit vocal when he plays tug, he just like to hear himself and sound tough. The first time was a nice easy spot for him to find it, the second time was more challenging and he had to use his nose to find it.

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