Because of the heat wave we’re currently experiencing, Facebook decided to put together a list of who they think has the worst hot weather jobs. Turns out dog walkers have made that list! Sure, it’s hot out there, really hot. But I’ll be honest, I’ve been having a blast walking dogs in this heat!
To start, I want to make it clear that “walking dogs” hasn’t exactly been just that. It’s just too hot to go for a brisk midday, half-hour walk. Myself and all of my walkers haven’t had our pups walking for more than 10-15 minutes per visit. However, we still have lots of other fun and stimulating activities up our sleeves! And the great thing about these activities is that even wayyou can try them at home to help your pup burn some energy! They’ll keep your pup busy and happy in the house, while enhancing your bond and reinforcing good behavior.
To help you get started on keeping your pup active and happy during this hot weather, I’ve explained two very fun games to try out:
What you need: Tasty treats or a fun toy, and a crate if your dog doesn’t know “stay.”
Instructions: Ask your dog to “stay” or put him in his crate. Take a cookie or his favorite toy and hold it up so that he sees it in your hand. Then walk to a spot in your house where he can still see you, put the item down, then return to your dog. Say “Find It!” and release your dog from his stay, or open his crate. Watch as your pup runs to the spot and gobble up his treat or play with his toy! Next, start all over again, but this time placing the item in a slightly more difficult spot. Watch him search for the item and find it! Repeat over and over again for lots of fun!
Remember: Your dog needs to be rewarded to stay motivated. Start the game very easy to make sure he understands the goal. If things get too difficult and he looses interest, try going back to placing the item in an easy-to-find spot. Egg him on with your voice, and if he needs help, try pointing to the area that the item is hidden. Reward him once he finds it with lots of praise and clapping so he’s extra proud of himself!
Why the game is so great: You’re burning your pup’s mental and physical energy by challenging him to find the item. You’re also reinforcing the “stay” command while teaching him a new command, “find it.” And the best part about it is he’s got to pay attention to you and read your body language so that he knows where the toy is! It’s a great way to connect with your pup, and I think at times we all wish our dog paid more attention to us!
Who enjoyed this game: Kande the Wheaton Terrier could not get enough of this game with me yesterday! She was great at staying, so I’d amp up the excitement by asking her if she was ready before telling her to “find it!” She would get so psyched, that the moment I said “find it!” she’d give me one big WOOF then sprint off into the living room, as if to say “here I go!!”
“Hide & Go Seek!”
What you need: Tasty treats or a fun toy, and someone to help you if your dog doesn’t know “stay”
Instructions: Ask your dog to “stay” or have someone hold him, and show him that you have a treat or toy. Then walk into another room, stand still, and say “(dog’s name) come!” If someone’s holding your dog, have them let go. Then stay quiet until your pup finds you and when he does, reward him with lots of praise and a treat or some playtime with his toy! Next, repeat the game, but this time hiding in a slightly more difficult spot. If you’re playing with someone else, have them hide this time. Reward your dog for finding you, and repeat over and over again for lots of fun!
Remember: Keep your dog motivated and help him understand the game by first hiding in an easy-to-find spot. Increase the difficulty based on his success. If he suddenly looses interest or can’t find you, give him a hint with a whistle or by saying his name. Make it super exciting when he finds you so that he has lots of fun and stays enthusiastic about the game!
Why the game is so great: You’re burning your pup’s mental and physical energy by challenging him to find you. Plus, you’re reinforcing both your “stay” and “come” commands. It also teaches your pup that being around you, or finding you, is a wonderful thing! That way when you’re outside one day and want to call him to come, he’ll be more happy to do it!
Who enjoyed this game: My two Collies, Elsa and Reese, absolutely love this game! They’ve become so good at it, that I’ll ask them to stay in the basement, and hide all the way upstairs in the bedroom and they still manage to find me! The two flights of stairs are great exercise for them when it’s too hot to go for a walk and they’ve learned that being called to “come” is fun and exciting!
So even though it’s sometimes too hot outside for our dogs to burn a lot of energy, that’s no excuse to have a bored pup! Try out these games to help your dog stay active during the hot summer days while reinforcing good behaviors, enhancing your bond, and having fun!