We all need to chill out sometimes and this is true of dogs too, especially those that tend to be more nervous. By rewarding your dog when it is calm, you encourage calmer, better behaviour. Here are some simple calmness games that you could play with your dog and include in your daily routine.
- Give your pooch treats when it is quietly lying down on its bed. Keep your voice gentle when you speak, to avoid raising energy levels. Every now and again when you walk past your dog’s bed, throw a piece of food down onto the bed and reward your pup for resting peacefully.
- Scatter feed some treats – or broken up treat pieces – on the ground for your pup to sniff out and find.
- Stealth feed your pup when it is sleeping: quietly leave a treat near its nose so it will find the food on waking up.
- Hide a treat in one hand and offer both hands to your pooch to sniff out and identify the treat.
- If you have a snuffle mat or kong toy, fill it with treats and let your dog quietly play. This is especially useful during times that are normally too exciting for your dog, such as when visitors come. If you don’t have a snuffle mat or kong, recycle an old loo roll or kitchen roll tube – fold one end over, fill the tube with treats, fold the other end et voila! A free toy. Otherwise, simply scrunching up a towel on the floor and hiding treats in the folds will do the trick.
- Use puzzle feeders with treats inside.
Did you like these calmness games to play with your dog? Another calmness activity could be to prepare frozen treats for your pup in warm weather and give them a frozen treat to lick away at. You can do this easily by filling ice cube trays with yoghurt, bone broth or fruit and water and freezing them. Try this easy, frozen yoghurt and mint treat recipe for dogs (good for humans too!), or this recipe for making bone broth.
See some of our other game suggestions to play with your dog here.