Sometimes the weather or my schedule prohibit outside adventures. Sometimes I’m too lazy or tired to exercise. I’ve found ways to entertain Bentley without walking or playing fetch.
Here’s how you can exercise your dog when you are busy.
Get a Kong®. Amazon has excellent prices on these famous Kong toys. You an get a large kong for under $8. Order two or three and keep them loaded in your freezer. The frozen kong provides excellent foraging and entertainment value. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, order the ultimate black kong!
Place a bit of wide, silver duct tape over the small opening to seal it off. Place some dog food and a few treats inside. Pour some water and a bit of low sodium chicken broth inside the Kong®. Don’t fill it all the way to the top with broth, leave some space so you can add wet dog food or peanut butter after it’s frozen. Stand it upright in a cup or glass in the freezer and let it freeze.
Now you are prepared to exercise your dog without leaving your chair! Remove the frozen Kong® from the freezer, remove the duct tape, add a bit of peanut butter or wet dog food in the large opening and give it to your pup. He’ll spend 15-25 minutes stimulating his mind and his body while he is foraging.
You can use the frozen delight to teach your puppy to relax in the crate, laundry room, or in the back yard, alone. To change your puppy’s perception of being isolated from people, give the frozen kong only when the puppy is alone. After several pairings. the puppy will begin to enjoy the alone time!
If your dog won’t eat the kong when you leave, try this. Place the dog in the kennel with you sitting in front of the open door. Extend your hand holding the frozen kong into the kennel. Just hold it in your hand as he eats the wet food or peanut butter. If he gets into it, release the kong, stay seated, talk softly while he is eating it. Tell him, “lock up” or whatever phrase you like and close the door. Remain seated in front of the kennel. Talk softly as he eats the goodies inside the kong.
Wait 2- 3 minutes (assuming he’s still involved with the kong. If he stops eating., this won’t work. You’ll need a more detailed plan.) and then tell him, “Free” or whatever word you like. Open the door and immediately take the kong away. (this won’t work if he is aggressive with food items, you’ll need a more detailed plan.) Walk a few steps from the kennel, if he’s hungry and wants the kong, he will come out and follow you, Perfect! Walk back to the kennel and extend your hand with the kong inside. When he grabs the kong and starts eating again, tell him, “lock up” and close the door. Stand next to the kennel and talk to him softly as he eats the goodies in the kong.
Wait 2-3 minutes and then tell him “free”, open the door and take the kong away from him. Walk a few steps away and then return to the kennel. Tell him “kennel up” and toss the kong inside. Tell him “lock up” and close the door. Repeat the sequence but instead of standing nearby and talking softly, walk a few steps away. Wait 2-3 minutes, repeat the steps of coming back, opening door, and taking the kong. Repeat but walk a bit farther away, until you are out of sight. Once he will still eat the kong when you are out of sight start increasing the time you stay away. Once this exercise is complete, always give him a frozen kong when you leave.
The idea is for him to think, “yay I get a great treat when you leave, and “boo” I lose the treat when you return. Over time he will gladly go in the kennel and will not bark when you leave. Happy training!!