Lockdown Advice: Teach your dog new skills
Dogs are social, intelligent and active animals so it is important to provide them with safe and suitable opportunities to exercise their bodies and minds.
Our enrichment ideas will provide mental and physical activity that can help prevent boredom during the day, while teaching a variety of skills such as problem-solving, confidence, agility and searching.
With thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery whose support helps to fund Dog School.
As well as our eight video ideas, we also have a downloadable enrichment guide for more tips and tricks to entertain your dog.
Figure of Eight
This game uses your dog’s brain and body, keeping them agile while circling one box and then the other. Once you’ve mastered the basics, try moving the boxes further apart so your dog has to move a little more, or even add in a third or fourth box to send them around!
Fab for dogs who love to dig, and safer than digging your garden! Easy to create with recycling items, this game safely allows dogs to dig and snuffle for treats, engaging in natural foraging behaviour they’ll really enjoy – and you can play this inside your home too!
Who knew toilet rolls could be so much fun? Once your dog has mastered their ball-rolling, sorry ‘bowling’, skills, invite your household into a competition! If your dog is finding it tricky to begin with, place the ball on the floor with a few treats underneath it, as your dog sniffs for the treats the ball will start to roll and you’re off!
We all know dogs are intelligent, but you can really impress your friends with this game! Help your dog out by practising throwing the reward first and improve your co-ordination too! Coco here can recognise the words Amazon and Fetch – so she can check out our online sales! – but if your dog already knows ‘fetch’ means to fetch their toy, use another word like “delivery”!
Will your dog remember where they saw their treat – or toy - dropped? If they’re acing it, make it harder by eking out the time between them seeing the reward being dropped and going to find it – screen for a little longer or do a few ‘high fives’ to distract them, making sure they have plenty of treats while they’re waiting so it’s always fun, then see if they can still remember!
A great game for confidence and fab for your training skills as your dog learns to ‘strike a pose’! Once they’ve learned this you can play everywhere you go, as long as you check the item you’re using is safe, sturdy and won’t slip or fall underneath your dog – think plastic boxes, upturned washing-up bowls and large flower-pots, or even sturdy fallen trees to liven up your daily exercise.
A classic! This game gives your dog confidence to pop their snoot into something unusual at your say-so, learning it’s always worth their while cos there’s treats waiting on the other side! Liven it up by drawing a cartoon on the card you’re using so that their snoot will become part of it as they pop it through!
A great game for confidence and suppleness, just make sure you’ve got a box your dog can easily fit through – you can always turn a box sideways if that makes it easier for them. Young, agile dogs can learn to creep through!