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Indoor Games as the Days get Colder!

By Anna Webb Broadcaster, Author, Naturopath has studied with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT) 21 days ago 740 Views


When the weather is simply too cold to brace for a long walk, what can you do to exercise your dog mentally and physically?

As our days get shorter,I value the repertoire of indoor games to play with Prudence my lively Miniature Bull Terrier.

I work from home so no matter what the weather, I value punctuating our day with proactive playtime breaks just as much as Prudence and Mr Binks do!

Dogs are naturally playful. It’s their communication tool that sets dogs apart. I believe when you’ve turned your dog’s world into a game based on rules and teamwork you’ve hit the jackpot!

Prudence enjoys pretending to be a sniffer dog as she finds her toys that are hidden around the flat.

Apart from sharpening her basic obedience commands like sit; stay, find it, pick it up, come here; and give, it’s perfect ‘proactive’ game that builds a dog’s confidence too.

With Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or ‘doggy Dementia’ on the increase, I hope to work preventatively by training her and firing up her ‘grey-matter’ from puppyhood to keep her ‘on the ball’ through into her ‘golden’ years.

Food

Positive reinforcement like stuffing an interactive toy like a KONG with Natural Instinct’s Beef Jerky makes a great boredom buster any time of the day.

Having fed my dogs on a raw, species appropriate diet for over 16 years, I’m a fan of the pre-prepared, balanced raw meals offered by Natural Instinct, and their range of natural dehydrated treats and raw bones.

It’s so important if you’re opting for a natural raw diet not to compromise the health benefits by offering high glycaemic biscuit treats in-between meals.

Apart from being pro-inflammatory, biscuit processed treats are also high-glycaemic and can encourage hyperactive behaviours, which aren’t ideal if you’re trying to meet a deadline on the computer!

Chewing is an indoor game that thanks to Natural Instinct is made easy with a variety of treats and bones that comes in all shapes and sizes for every dog.

Prudence and Mr Binks go mad for a Beef Pipe from Natural Instinct. Their treats and bones are naturally designed for dogs to chomp on and have fun for hours.

Chewing is a natural relaxant for dogs as the process releases happy hormones and tires them out quickly.

Games to Play

In the past 10 years there’s been a surge of interactive ‘board’ games for dogs. Designed as brain-teasers, they encourage a dog to think.

Dogs have to work out whether to use their paw, their nose, or their mouth to solve the problem of how to release a treat

Problem solving is dementia busting for senior dogs, firing up their brain cells with new tasks to work out.

Senior dogs might be less mobile with arthritic symptoms and find it harder to the exercise in the cold when these symptoms are exacerbated.

These brain-teaser games are perfect for older dogs to keep them on the ball with spatial awareness and coordination as well as low impact exercise.

It’s taken quite a bit of time and patience to train Prudence to work out a board game. Like many dogs she’s all about tipping it over and releasing all the treats at once!

To do it properly it’s an interactive process where I guide Prudence with specific instructions like ‘pick it up’, ‘paw’, ‘touch’. Motivated by the excitement of getting the reward, she’s eager to repeat what we just did.

Less is more with a board game for Prudence. She works through her frustration getting it wrong, which teaches her patience – and that’s why it’s always good to quit any training session on an up.

Eventually – maybe in a couple of years- she’ll be able to figure out any interactive game all by herself.

Three S’s Rule!

Always remember Natural Instinct’s 3 S’s rule when feeding bones!

1. SIZE

Always feed the appropriate size bone for the size of your dog. E.g. a duck neck or small play bone may be suitable for a small to medium breed for a medium to large breed dog a turkey neck or large play bone will be more suitable.

2. SUPERVISE

Always supervise your dog when feeding any treats or bones, especially if your dog has not been fed bones before.

3. SEPARATE

Bones are of high value to dogs; therefore, if you live in a multi dog household separate them when feeding bones to ensure they don’t squabble.


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