Winter is winding down and before we know it the warm weather and longer days will be upon us. This is great news for our dogs because it means we can spend more outdoor time with them. A long hike or romp in the park is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to helping our furry friends to shed those winter pounds, get back into shape and even prevent unwanted behavior problems that often arise out of boredom. If it is difficult to get out due to available time or weather, there are indoor things we can do with our dogs to prevent boredom and keep their thinking sharp. One of my favorite things to do with my dog is to teach her tricks. This is very fun for both of us and is a great way to wear your dog out … think about how your brain feels when you’ve tried to learn something new ….tired huh?

Some of my favorite tricks include but are not limited to:

In addition to tricks there are fun games like teaching your dog to fetch & drop items using a hallway or other narrow space. Playing hide and seek is also another great game and if you have children this one can keep them and dogs occupied at the same time. If you don’t’ have children, hiding a dog’s favorite toy and then having them “find it” to earn a game of tug, chase or even a belly rub and some praise can be lots of fun.

If you need to keep your dog occupied while you are away there are lots of “puzzle toys” designed for dogs. I’ve watched my dog spend hours with her “Canine Genius” bottle. Check out this link for other great puzzle toys.  Regardless of your choice of activity, playing with your dog is fun, builds strong relationships and provides great stimulation. Tired dogs are good dogs!