April 20, 2011
Easter Sunday is upon us this weekend. This often means family, friends, celebration of Spring and all that is new. It also means candy! Which includes those gooey filled chocolate eggs, and other delectable treats for children of all ages to hunt, in and out of the home.
Poncho and I wanted to send a gentle reminder to make sure you’re managing your environment, keeping all of those types of human yummy treats out of your dogs reach. And while safety is top priority for pets – through management of his or her environment – it doesn’t mean that your inquisitive canine can’t have some fun too!
Ever since Poncho came into our lives we have celebrated this holiday weekend with an activity sure to make any dog want to tap into his or her scent-skills! Yep that’s right, we set up a “kibble hunt”. Poncho loves playing, as much as we love setting up the course. (So much that this is one of the activity cards in our Out of the Box Dog Training Game!)
Here’s a few tips on how you can set your own adventures up for your dog:
- Setting up a “kibble hunt”: What does this mean? Instead of serving his or her food out of a bowl, take your dogs meal and set up a scavenger course in and around your house – outside in the yard or inside your home, or both. If he or she eats kibble, this will be easy! Just place pieces in strategic places around the yard. Or, if you have an indoor arrangement only, then place pieces of kibble around areas of your home. Behind doors, under corners of rugs and pieces of furniture, or wherever your dog likes to explore (or is easy for him or her to explore).
- Note: If your dog eats wet food or out of a Kong toy then you can certainly “hide” these as well. Kong toys are convenient to hide around the yard or areas in kitchens. If you only serve wet food from a bowl, then you can divide the food up into smaller containers and hide those in various places.
- Adding a bonus: Although I usually hide Poncho’s regular kibble, I’ll also place a few pieces of his favorite treats. Why not? Makes the game that much more fun!
- Setting your dog up for success: If your dog has never participated in something like this, or if he or she would rather run than hunt, you might want to consider allowing your dog to watch the set-up. Leash and tether him or her in an area where he or she can watch you arrange the course. Then, ‘let the dogs out’ to search and rescue all the goodies. An alternate is to have your dog watch you through a window, seeing all the steps you’re taking, in order to assist in the hunt.
This activity helps set up a nice enrichment activity for your dogs mental and physical stimulation, as well as keeping him or her preoccupied during times when he or she needs to spend time on his or her own. Also, it’s just darn fun! (As soon as I find our videos from previous years I’ll post them!).
We realize that providing opportunities for dogs to use his or her hunting skills helps build confidence while creating fun times for all. We at the Inquisitive Canine are sure you’ll agree and wish you a very happy and pawsitively rewarding holiday weekend!