We all know outdoor walks are essential for dogs, especially for high-energy dogs. But there are always special circumstances in life that prevent us from taking our dogs outside, such as continuous rainy days or sudden quarantine situations. Providing enrichment games for dogs at home becomes particularly important. Dogs excel in using their senses, including vision, smell, hearing, and touch. Therefore, our interaction with dogs can start from these four aspects.

Considerations When Choosing Games for High-Energy Dogs

When choosing games, we can combine the characteristics of the dog breed. For example, dogs that are good at using their sense of smell can play more visual and auditory games. Breeds that rely more on vision can be encouraged to use their hearing and smell more to achieve a balance of sensory stimulation.

Enrichment Games for High-Energy Dogs at Home – Smell-Based Games

Enrichment Games for High-Energy Dogs at Home - Smell-Based Games

Smell-based games aim to fully stimulate the dog’s sense of smell. In addition to daily sniffing mats, we can also play hiding food games and guessing box games with dogs.

Hiding Food Game:

Hide food-dispensing toys filled with treats in places where the dog cannot see them, then guide the dog to search for them. During the game, try to minimize cues for the dog to encourage them to rely on their sense of smell as much as possible.

Guessing Box Game:

Prepare two identical boxes (or cups), place one with treats inside, and let the dog use their sense of smell to find the food. Similarly, avoid providing cues to the dog during the game.

Enrichment Games for High-Energy Dogs at Home – Visual-Based Games

Enrichment Games for High-Energy Dogs at Home - Visual-Based Games

Visual-based games can involve teaching dogs to interact by observing gestures such as gesture training or playing chase games such as retrieving frisbees (be cautious with large dogs to avoid joint strain). Here we will take the example of gesture training games:

Gesture Training Games:

  1. Start by sitting in front of your dog with a treat or toy in hand.
  2. Make a simple gesture, such as pointing to the ground or waving your hand.
  3. When your dog looks at or responds to the gesture, immediately reward them with praise and the treat or toy.
  4. Repeat the gesture several times, each time rewarding your dog for the correct response.
  5. Once your dog starts to understand the gesture, gradually increase the difficulty by introducing new gestures or combining them.

Enrichment Games for High-Energy Dogs at Home – Touch-Based Games

Enrichment Games for High-Energy Dogs at Home - Touch-Based Games

Touch-based games involve teaching dogs to control their bodies to touch target objects, allowing dogs to feel different textures and learn to better control their limbs. It can also be as simple as letting dogs satisfy their needs by chewing. Here we take an example of a touch target game.

Touch Target Game:

  1. Place the target object on the ground within your dog’s reach.
  2. Encourage your dog to touch the target object with their nose or paw by using treats or toys to lure them toward it.
  3. When your dog successfully touches the target object, reward them with praise and a treat.
  4. Repeat the process, gradually increasing the distance between your dog and the target object.
  5. Once your dog becomes proficient at touching the target object, you can add variations such as having them touch it with a specific paw or nose. You can also introduce different types of target objects with varying textures to provide sensory stimulation for your dog.

Enrichment Games for High-Energy Dogs at Home – Auditory-Based Games

Auditory-based games involve incorporating various sound signals into interactions, teaching dogs to decide their actions based on signals. These games can also help dogs learn to better obey their owners’ commands.

Sound Training Game:

  1. Start by introducing your dog to the sound-making object in a calm environment. For example, if you’re using a clicker, simply click it a few times while your dog is nearby.
  2. Immediately after making the sound, reward your dog with praise and a treat to associate the sound with something positive.
  3. Repeat this process several times, ensuring that your dog remains relaxed and receptive to the sound.
  4. Once your dog starts to recognize and associate the sound with a reward, you can begin incorporating it into training exercises or everyday interactions.
  5. For example, you can use the sound as a signal for specific behaviors, such as sitting or lying down. Whenever your dog performs the desired behavior after hearing the sound, reward them with praise and a treat.
  6. Gradually increase the complexity of the training by introducing new sounds or combining them with other cues.
  7. Consistency and patience are key to success with auditory-based games. Practice regularly and make sure to keep the training sessions enjoyable for your dog.

Providing enrichment activities for high-energy dogs at home is essential. By engaging their senses through smell-based, visual-based, touch-based, and auditory-based games, we can keep our canine companions mentally stimulated and physically active. If you’re looking for a way to remember the joy on your dog’s face during these games, consider customizing 3D needle-felted framed dog portraits from us, preserving their smile in a touchable and lasting way.

Published On: May 31, 2024
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