Emergencies are unpredictable. Be prepared! Have an emergency kit with first aid supplies on hand. Use the PDF below as a guide for kit contents, or order a ready-made one (suggestions below). For typical pet dogs, you can go with a less expensive one. For more sporty dogs should go with a more comprehensive kit.
Additionally, personalized emergency cards are great in case an emergency happens, but it's also great to send with a pet sitter, too!
Trick dog classes
Did you know, The Thinking K9 offers Trick Dog classes ranging from Novice to Expert and even Honors?! Not only are tricks fun, but world renowned trainer Ian Dunbar said it best “Mental exercise tires a dog physically more than physical exercise does.”
Several exercises we are covering today are geared towards mental stimulation, including some Trick Dog activities (3 cup find-it, roll out the red carpet, touch buttons, muffin tin game).
Let's put our dogs' thinking caps back on!
Spend about 1 minute working on your foundation, including:
The exercise with the funny noise 😉.
Sit, Down, Sit.
Say it, lure it if necessary, say "yes!" when they do it, & reward! Keep in mind the "lures vs. bribes" handout from last week.
Roll out the carpet
A rainy day activity that will help wear your dog out. This is also a Trick for a Trick Dog Title.
- Fold a towel the long way.
- Place treats roughly 2" all the way down the towel the long way.
- Roll the towel up.
- Place the towel on the floor & unroll it just enough for one treat to peak through. Most dogs will do the rest!
Get puppy coming to you even when they don't see you!
1) Hide in a room of your house, behind a tree, or somewhere else hidden but easy to find at first.
2) Call your puppy with excitement and don't stop until they come! It might take a while to find you at first.
3) Pick harder spots the better your puppy gets!
Bubbles - Exercise
Wear your puppy out without wearing yourself out! This is also a safe alternative to laser pointers!
Laser pointers can cause very serious fallout including obsessing over shadows & glares, making it difficult to get and keep your dog's attention. At it's worst it can cause reactivity with moving objects.
Blow some bubbles! Have some fun! Invite the kids!
Reorientation with squeaker
Get your puppy's attention, even under heavy distractions!
1) Begin with some tasty treats and your puppy on leash with person 1.
2 ) Person 2 squeaks a toy just once and stops while person 1 regains puppy's attention and keeps it for a little bit.
3) You can get harder as puppy masters this exercise, however, it is important that you give your puppy a lot of easy wins too.
Socks - Handling exercise
Easy nail trimmings, vet visits, snout to tail assessments, etc. This exercise counts as a "mock nail trim" on your Socialization chart.
Use high value rewards for this, as it can be very difficult for most dogs. Cheese, peanut butter, or hot dogs are great choices.
Ideally two people will do this exercise; one person stabilizes puppy with treats and gentle restraint if needed, while the other person puts socks on puppy.
Some puppies will tolerate one sock well, while others will tolerate them all. Don't push your puppy beyond what they can tolerate in one sitting. You will have time to practice another day! Your puppy should always have fun during this exercise.
Once you get a sock or more on, do foundation recalls so your puppy doesn't fixate on the socks. While it may be funny at first, this can lead to bad behavior in the future.
Funky foot targets - Socialization
Proper socialization greatly helps to prevent fear. Fear can lead to reactivity (barking & lunging at scary things). Confident puppies are also able to be more obedient!
Safely get your puppy's front feet up onto strange objects both inside and out! Tree stumps, outdoor benches, be on the lookout and get creative!
Check out International Dog Parkour Association for ideas!
Heeling, cookie drop
As has been previously discussed, there are many ways to teach a dog to heel. For the most success, use many methods and practice often. The more fun you have, the more focus your dog will have on you!
Stop the pulling!
Dogs pull because they are rewarded for it. Every step brings a new smell and perhaps a new snack (edible or... well, it goes down the hatch anyway!). We need to teach them that it's advantageous to be by us too!
Last week we dropped a cookie on the ground to teach our dogs that WE know where the good stuff is, they don't have to scavenge for it. Now we are going to take that a step further. Dogs love having their nose to the ground, which is why we dropped the cookie there. This time, however, we are going to start teaching our puppies to keep their noses OFF the ground.
With your puppy on a short leash, heel forward 2 steps, stop. Then immediately grab a treat, touch it to the side seam of your pants, then into your dog's mouth.
Why the side of the pants and not just into their mouth? This is because we tend to go to the dog, instead of insisting the dog comes to us. If your dog's mouth is more than 6" away from your pants line, they will have to come back to you to get it. This also teaches your dog where to be next time, so they can get the treat faster!
Silly hats - socialization
This is a body manipulation activity to help your dog accept safe handling. This will reflect positively at the vet, groomer, etc.
Have a lot of extremely yummy treats such as hot dogs or cheese. High-value rewards are used to steady your dog and to build a positive association for the task. This should always be a positive experience for your dog. Always keep in mind that force = fear.
You can either order hats online, or use things around the house! You can even use a bandana around their head!
3 cup find-it aka Shell game
Another great rainy day activity that has its roots in nosework. Nosework is a fun sport and a great way to exhaust a dog both mentally and deplete their body physically.
1) Use 2+ cups, hide treats (you can use your dog's kibble!) under one.
2) Tell your dog to "Find It" and encourage them to keep searching if they show confusion. You can also help show them by tipping the cup, if needed the first couple times.
3) The more cups, the harder the game and more exhausting for the dog!
Muffin tin game
Continuing on with our rainy day activities, because a lot of dogs are starting to climb the walls and become bothersome with their energy due to being cooped up.
Gather one muffin tin, 2+ tennis balls, & treats. Kibble works too!! This is a fantastic way to feed your dog's meals. This is a great game for the whole family as well!
Place one or more tennis balls with kibble under it for your dog to find. The more balls and fewer places that hold kibble the harder!