By – Malvika, Anvis Inc.
Silver fur, droopy eyes & slower gait – this may not warm all hearts, but it certainly does ours! Senior dogs come with a wonderful temperament, calm demeanours & tolerance towards things that would roil any young(er) dog. However, just because they have aged does not mean they have ceased having an interest in games and other activities. It is important to note that although they may have a lot of energy left to burn, they may not always be high-performing athletes and may have joint or bones or muscle ailments that could hinder their movement.
Before you kick off a new exercise or activity plan, please check with your dog’s veterinarian on what is advisable to do for your furry buddy.
- Seek or find it: This is a great one for the senior dogs to regain interest in their surroundings. This activity is about teaching our dogs to “find” things we have tucked away around the house. It could be treats, toys, our socks, etc, but the premise for this game is to put our dog’s sniffing instincts on top gear. Sniffing is an excellent way to keep our dogs engaged which not only gets them to think, but also helps them build confidence in new places or amidst new people. Remember that each time your dog finds a treat, you praise them effusively and make a small party out of it! For starters though, helping them search for these objects/treats will always help keep their interest alive in the activity and then slowly will gain the confidence to go seeking themselves.
- Obedience training – Who says old dogs cannot learn new tricks! We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping up with training despite the age or breed of the dog. It is a great idea to introduce a 10-15 minute session of training 2-3 times a day if you are stuck indoors. Get the dog to think & pay attention so you are set with a calm, balanced dog!
- Obstacle courses too – with the order goodies home lifestyle we are living nowadays, we surely have a ton of empty boxes lying around. Let’s put them to good use by teaching the dogs basic agility (crawl, weave etc)! However we have to make a point that these are to be done only if your senior dog is in good health with no joints or other movement issues
- Game of tug! Tugging is another fun exercise, but a word of caution before you play this game – your dog needs to know tugging etiquette ; in other words, it needs to know how to drop an object, how to take an object and not be using nipping and biting methods to get access to the toy whilst tugging. If you’ve all this under control, then tug away!
- Inverted cups! This is the game with a treat hidden under a cup to keep the dog engaged. It’s a rudimentary form of mental exercise, but if you’d like to step it up a notch, then stay tuned for our future blog!
Now, it must be said this list is not exhaustive, but it is a good start to keep your senior dog engaged and to work on your relationship with your buddy too.
To learn more about how we train a dog to play these games, feel free to reach us at Anvis! We’d love to help!
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