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Enrichment Game: Ice Cube Treats

We’ve had a series of scorchers! How do we enrich our dogs and keep them cool at the same time? Ice cube treats! Small ice cube treats are excellent to fill puzzle toys indoors. Bigger frozen ice treats can be a long-lasting enrichment activity for outdoors! I’ve also seen people freeze “popsicle handles” into their ice cubes with bully sticks or other stick type treats. 

Get creative and post your recipes or photos below! 

Safety reminder to not give your dogs any products containing xylitol, chocolate, coffee, raisins, or grapes. 

Enrichment Game: Fillable Nylon Bones

My other favorite enrichment item to purchase – nylon chew toys! One company even stepped it up and made an option that you can fill with food. Make sure you choose a nylon chew that is appropriate for your dog’s bite force; if they can take large chunks off it is not hard enough for your dog.

If you don’t have any nylabones, benebones, flavor-it bones, or the like you can spread wet food on a rubber toy and freeze it to make a similar fun toy to chew.

 

Enrichment Game: Bob for Treats

Splish splash, we’re bobbing for treats. This is a great activity for warm days where you can play around with water outside. Be sure to let your dogs take turns if you have multiples and watch the amount of water they’re ingesting.

Also try this activity with toys in a small tub of water! You’ll want to join in too!

Training Activity: What’s With the Mask?

Why are all the humans covering half of their faces?

If your dog is worried about you or other humans wearing masks, this video gives some ideas for how to work through it.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Wearing a mask is good. Put your mask on, feed your dog a few high value rewards, then take your mask off and stop feeding.

Step 2: Wearing a mask doesn’t change your communication. Put your mask on, go through a few easy and fun cues your dog knows, reward them for participating.

Step 3: Seeing other people wear masks is also good. Stand a safe distance from people, reward your dog when they notice a person wearing a mask.

In the video, you’ll get to see the first two steps in action. I go into detail for what to do if your dog is too worried to start with step one. I also cover a few ways you can accomplish step three.

Enrichment Game: Snuffle Mats

Let’s continue to work those noses! This time get your dog engaged in some snuffling for food. Dogs rooting for food with their noses is an excellent diffusing and calming behavior, it is also mentally tiring.

I give an outdoor option, though you may want to wait until a slightly nicer day to try that one out!

Enrichment Game: Kong Stuffing

What is your favorite dog toy to fill with food? I love the classic kong, and here I show you how I fill my kongs!

Need a polite dog during an online meeting? Throw them a stuffed toy to reward them for patiently waiting on their bed. Stuffed toys are also a great option for practicing departures and time alone so that your dog doesn’t develop separation anxiety during this time. Contact me for more info or help.
Let’s see those stuffed kongs or kong filling recipes you guys have in the comments!

Enrichment Game: Food Search

Let’s get those noses working today! You can use any room and hide anything your dog enjoys. In this video, I’m hiding treats around the room we’re in, but I also describe how you can make this more challenging.

How is everyone doing? Have you been enriching those pups? Add photos and videos in the comments!

 

Enrichment Game: Lick Mats and Bowls

This game is all about presenting soft foods in an interesting way. Does your dog like peanut butter, cream cheese, canned food? These foods are excellent for spreading on lick mats and bowls to give your dog a calming slow activity to enjoy.

Use this as a reward for good behavior while you’re home during the day. Is your dog pleasantly waiting through a virtual meeting? Reward them with a nice activity! Is your dog not pleasantly waiting through a virtual meeting? Let me know and we can set up a training session!

 

Enrichment Game: Stuffed Bag

Raining, again! Don’t put out that recycling quite yet, today we’re using paper bags to enrich our dogs. Here I describe the first two levels of difficulty with this game, but the sky is the limit. You can stuff a bag with a longer lasting enrichment toy to make a double layered puzzle as well.

I give a warning about paper eaters in the video, but if your dog eats paper either play a different activity or monitor closely to make sure they don’t ingest too much paper.

Enrichment Game: 101 Things to do with a Box Part Two

Did you like 101 Things to do with a Box? Here is the continuation of that game! The sky is the limit with behaviors you can choose to teach your dog to do in, near, or with the box. Get creative and send me photos and videos of the results.

Look back to the first video for pointers on how to start. Remember that we are rewarding our dogs for small interactions with this object in order to build a bigger behavior. Here I show how I would go about teaching Jojo to bite the box!