A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
We all need exercise to stay healthy, no matter what the weather forecast says, especially dogs! Here’s some indoor games you can play to get your pooch off the couch, get moving, and to keep him from being bored on dreary days.
- Hide and seek with favorite toys
This game may start with teaching your dog how to sit and stay. Start by having him sit and stay while you place a favorite toy (squeaky ones are a favorite in our house) where he can see it, but away from him (like across the room). Use your release word (ours is “OK”) and let him go fetch the toy, making sure to allow enough time to celebrate the reward of waiting patiently, by dancing around with his toy in his mouth. You can make this game more and more complicated, incrementally, by moving further and further away with the toy, around a corner, to another room, up a flight of stairs and eventually by hiding the toy in places where your dog could eventually find it. When hiding the toy, think about a child’s Easter egg hunt. Don’t make it too hard, you do want your dog to be successful, eventually!
- Keep Away
There are many variations on this game. With two people, you can simply toss a toy or ball back and forth to each other, letting your dog chase it in each direction. We’ve even gone as far as to use tennis rackets and a tennis ball in the garage, for greater distance. Be sure to “accidentally” drop the ball once in a while, to keep your dog a part of the game.
- Agility Training
You can get very creative at home with simple props, like a hula hoop. Start by using a piece of kibble to coax your dog to walk through the hoop, as it rests on the floor. Once your dog is used to walking through the hoop on ground level, lift it off the ground one inch at time. By the end of a very rainy week, you might have your pal leaping through the hoop a couple of feet off the ground!
- Puzzles and Toys
There are many treat-dispensing and puzzle toys on the market for dogs now. These toys are mentally challenging, requiring your dogs to ‘figure out’ how to get the treat out from it’s hiding spot. Look for sturdy toys that will withstand heavy chewing.
A hallway with doors closed makes for a perfect runway for a game of fetch. A straight stairwell does, too. Use a plush ball or toy to avoid the ball going in all directions and to get the most distance out of running to fetch.
Mental exercise, as well as physical exercise, is an important part of your dog’s health. It’s fun, relieves boredom, and can be extremely bonding for the both of you!
November 1, 2019 | DogGeek
Your dog is your furry best friend, though he isn’t always on his best behavior. Don’t let your dog develop bad habits that leave you in a state of frustration — instead, utilize techniques and tools to ensure good behavior. With these gadgets and tactics, and a lot of consistency on your part, your pup can learn how to behave.
Dogs are smart and can easily pick up obedient habits, if they’re trained correctly. The earliest time to begin training is around four months — the older your dog is, the more difficult it will be to train them. You can teach your dog simple commands like “sit” and “lie down” if you model them yourself. First, say the one-word command, demonstrate the desired action and then give praise once the action is performed. The tone of your voice is something you should pay attention to; it is more important and effective than the specific words you use. When your dog has picked up the desired action and performs it well, make sure you reinforce their good behavior with a treat. Food is an excellent form of positive reinforcement when you begin the initial training, though eventually your dog should be weaned off the constant reward of treats.
If your dog tends to destroy items in your home or get into trouble when you’re away, there are simple measures you can take to stop this behavior. Interactive toys are a useful tool that will keep your pup entertained and reduce the likelihood of inappropriate behavior. Choose different kinds of toys that are engaging, like plush toys, squeaky toys, ropes, rubber bones and dog puzzles. Try out a variety of different toys, so you can find one works best for your dog.
Another interactive toy is a dog bone or stick that your dog can gnaw on for hours on end. Choose a chew or bone that is specifically meant for hours of gnawing, so your dog doesn’t end up with any bone shards cutting his mouth. Only Natural Pet has a variety of bones and bully sticks to help keep your dog out of trouble.
Many dogs have separation anxiety when you are gone for extended periods, which results in bad behavior. You can keep an eye on Fido when you’re out of the house with a home camera security system. Install cameras around the exterior and interior of your house so you can check in on your dog and catch any inappropriate behavior. Lorex has top-quality HD security camera systems for reasonable prices to help you stay connected with your pup. Access live footage from your phone. Lorex also carries some products with two-way audio so you can give your dog commands from wherever you are.
If your dog has a proclivity to run away, he is at a greater risk of physical harm. Correct this unsafe misbehavior with an invisible fence to keep him in your yard. You can set boundaries around your yard with the invisible fence posts and have your dog wear a special collar with a receiver to keep him within the boundaries. When your dogâ€™s collar receiver crosses into the signal field, he will be warned with an audible tone, then there will be a gentle static correction that reminds him he’s passed the limits of his boundaries. You can adjust the correction level so it is safe for your pet, depending on his size.
March 7, 2017 | DogGeek
Many dogs endure separation anxiety whenever their person leaves the house without them. That anxiety can manifest in shredded furniture, neighbors complaining about barking or howling and daring escape attempts. The worst part for any dog lover is knowing that these behaviors can arise from canine stress and unhappiness. Dogs are pack animals and you are pack leader, so it should be no surprise if your absence is difficult for your dog.
Severe cases may call for a visit to the veterinarian to determine the nature of the distress and address it. But if your dog’s separation anxiety is mild, there are a number of ways to help him stay calm and happy.
Try breaking up your own routine to downplay the significance of your departure and return. Behaviorists note that dogs sometimes interpret dramatic human goodbyes and greetings as a sign that being separated is a big deal. Some dogs become anxious if they hear their person jangle keys or see them putting on shoes. Your dog has a better chance of staying calm if you do.
Music, not noise
A recent study from Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow supported the idea that classical music can calm dogs. You can even get music compilations that are specifically geared toward canine calming. However, the same study showed that other types of music had the opposite effect. The Humane Society reports that radio, TV, static or white noise is unlikely to help.
If your dog loves to fetch, you can entertain him with a product like iFetch, an automated ball launcher. Physical activity is an antidote to anxious behaviors.
WiFi security cameras can keep you connected to your home no matter where you are. These cameras not only allow for two-way audio communication, but also enable you to view your home remotely from your smartphone to check on your dog. Watching your dog’s behavior remotely can also help you determine what works best for keeping your dog calm.
Toys can keep your dog occupied and interested — a bored dog is more prone to anxiety and restlessness. Kong toys are durable and popular. If you stuff a Kong toy and give it to your dog as you leave, your dog may come to equate your departure with pleasure instead of anxiety.
Besides a Kong, there are many other interactive dog puzzle toys that utilize tempting treats as motivation to keep your dog engaged in “solving” the puzzle. Anything that keeps your dog’s energy focused away from destructive behaviors is going to be a helpful part of reducing anxiety.
Take your dog to work
This isn’t an option for everyone, but if you can why wouldn’t you? A recent study from Virginia Commonwealth University showed that having dogs at work reduces human work-related stress.
Calming over-the-counter products
Dog-appeasing pheromones (DAP) have been shown to reduce anxiety in some scientific studies. Products like a diffuser such as Comfort Zone with Adaptil can help dogs feel safe by mimicking natural pheromones.
Consult your vet
Talking to your dog’s veterinarian is always a good idea when dealing with new or worsening behavior issues. Sometimes behaviors indicate an unexpected underlying medical condition that needs attention. Severe separation anxiety may require medication or help from a canine behavior specialist.
May 27, 2016 | DogGeek
Ever walk through the aisle at a pet store wondering what type of collar I should get for my dog? Well… it all depends on what you are trying to do. Our friends at Petco created the below infographic to help make your decision.
March 31, 2016 | DogGeek
Ever wonder what your dog is thinking? Since they can’t use words they use expressions to show us what is going on. Using their tails, face, ears, tongues and even the way they hold their weight your dog is talking to you all the time. Below are some tips to translate what they are saying.
Infographic provided by our friends at HavahartWireless.com
March 6, 2015 | DogGeek
Pets truly enrich our lives with unconditional love and loyalty. Though we do our best to keep their tails wagging, balancing work, family and household responsibilities can leave your furry family members wanting more attention. Of course, nothing replaces giving your pet your undivided attention but, for times when multi-tasking is a must, you can still entertain Fido while getting things done around the house. Combine your daily tasks and your pets’ play time with the help of these innovative games and toys:
There’s something about a freshly stacked pile of clothes that just begs to be burrowed in—at least, your dog seems to think so. When your pup just can’t wait to rub his fur all over your crisp, clean clothes, distract him with something far more enticing, like an automatic fetch toy like iFetch. The device enables pet owners to train their fetch-loving friends to play on their own. The device works by loading it with a tennis-like ball that then shoots out up to 30 feet. Trained dogs can fetch and reload the ball for hours of fun; or, you can help your pet out by loading it for him.
Will Work for Kibble
Working from home has many advantages: no more sitting in traffic, clothes are optional, and best of all, no more office distractions. Or so you thought. Sure, your co-workers aren’t around to interrupt your flow, but your four-legged colleagues can prove far more demanding. Pets seem to find the most inopportune times to make their needs known. Perhaps they’re putting in their two cents during an important client call or jumping on your lap to join a virtual meeting. When the distractions become overwhelming, its time to set some boundaries. Since you’re now home to monitor your pet’s behavior, invest in some interactive toys that can keep them occupied while you work. For instance, a food puzzle game or treat dispenser will keep your pooch mentally stimulated while you tend to work matters.
You’ve had a long day at work, the kids are occupied playing video games and Fido is begging for attention. Make your two-legged and four-legged kiddos happy with hands-free gaming that allows them to interact with their furry siblings while still allowing for some virtual fun. The hands-free capabilities of gaming consoles like Xbox One enable users to enjoy their virtual experience while multi-tasking real-world duties, like playing with Fido.
Dinner Table Antics
Whether you’re making dinner or eating it, your pup will likely be standing guard. It’s never pleasant trying to eat with a pair of puppy dog eyes on you. Some pets take it to the next level and implement whining and scratching to get what they want. Giving in only encourages bad behavior. Treat-stuffed toys offer a great way to keep your pet both occupied and satisfied. Next meal time, try using a treat game like a Kong Classic that enables your pet to chase and chew his wobbly toy in search for treats.
November 7, 2014 | DogGeek