The Box Game

Level 1: Upsidedown

upturned

Level 2: Box Game on its Side

Level 3: Reaching Inside

Level 4: Flaps Out

Level 5: Adding Elements

Level 6: Flaps In

The Ultimate Box Game

The Box Game

The Exploratory Box Game

The Box Game

Backyard Activity Ideas for You and Your Dog

Fun Backyard Activity Ideas for You and Your Dog

Backyard Activity: Agility

Dog walk

Backyard Activity: Dog Parkour (AKA Urban Agility)

  • As your dog’s partner, you are keeping him safe by acting as his spotter.
  • Harness and Leash: Use a harness with a 4-6′ leash clipped to the back of the harness.
  • Retractable leashes and long lines can become tangled and create a safety hazard
  • Long lines
  • NEVER use prong collars, slip/choke collars, slip lead or head halter.
  • Obstacles should be no higher than the handler’s shoulder height.
  • Do not let your dog jump down onto hard surfaces from any obstacle higher than that dog’s shoulder height. Instead, use his harness to help lower him to the ground.
  • Check before letting your dog enter public or private property.
  • Parkour can be done off leash if spotting is not necessary.
  • Balancing on stumps, rocks, logs, benches, parking space barriers, retaining walls, etc. Be sure that any obstacle that you are asking your dog to climb or jump onto has been checked for stability.
  • Balancing on or weaving around parking spot barriers.
  • Walking along retaining walls.
  • Stepping up or backing up onto stairs or curbs.
  • Walk on top of or crawl under benches.
  • Weaving around a line of trees or bushes.

Backyard Activity: Hoopers

Backyard Activity: Treibball

Backyard Activity: Rally

Rally course

Backyard Activity: Scentwork

Sniff Walk: What Your Dog Really Wants

The walk that your dog is hoping for.
  1. Are there ordinances in your area about off leash dogs?  If so, make sure that you are going to off-leash friendly areas.  Don’t be the dog owner that lets your dog off leash in on-leash only locations.  
  2. Make sure that your dog has a bomb-proof recall before letting your dog off leash in an un-enclosed space.  Nothing good is going to come from this.
  3. Be aware and respectful of others.  Keep this in mind and prevent your dog from harassing others (remember that bomb-proof recall in #2). Not every dog wants to be your dog’s friend and not every person is comfortable around dogs … and they have the right to enjoy that space without being harassed by an off-leash dog.  
  • Long line.  A long line is just a extra long leash that comes in lengths anywhere from 10 to 100 feet. They are great for training recalls, but make the perfect sniff walk leash. You can purchase a long line or simply make your own. Tie a clip to one end of a length of rope to hook to your dog’s harness. Then tie a loop at the other end for a handle.
  • Harness.  A harness is much safer than a collar for any walk.  Look for a harness that allows full range of motion.  For example, no-pull harnesses with a band across the chest restrict shoulder movement.
  • Hands free leash system (optional). A hands-free belt to attach your long line to works great to free up your hands. Now you can dispense treats or handle the line to keep it from getting tangled.
  • Leash belay system. Grish Stewart has created an excellent leash belay system to help you easily control a strong dog. Links to the equipment necessary can be found on my Equipment and Supplies page.
  • Treat pouch with treats or kibble.  If your dog has never been on a sniff walk, you may need to toss a few treats into the grass/bushes to encourage him and let him know that it is okay to sniff. Instead of treats, toss the food bowl and take your dog’s meal along to scatter feed in the grass.
  • Poop bags. Be sure to clean up after your dog.
  • Do not allow your dog to damage/destroy private or public property – including digging, crushing plants, etc.
  1. First, set Google Maps or Mapquest to ‘satellite’ mode and type your home address into the search box.
  2. Next, look for green spaces within easy walking or driving distance. Yes, you may need to drive a bit to find a good location.  
  3. Once you have located some potential spaces, check each one to determine if it will fit your needs.  On the map below, I have marked potential green spaces in my area.  
  4. Check land ownership and local ordinances.
    • The red zones on the map are great spaces, but, sadly, off limits to dogs.  Check your local ordinances for parks and cemeteries. If dog friendly, these make great sniff zones. 
    • The purple and blue zones are all dog-friendly possibilities.  The two largest purple zones are filled with fantastic nature trails.  However, if you have reactive dogs, check out those trails without your dogs first as nature trails are often narrow with few opportunities to allow enough space for other dogs to pass by without triggering reactions.  Since the point of a sniff walk is to allow your dog to decompress, these areas are not good options for reactive dogs. Be sure to keep these kind of things in mind when searching for sniff walk spaces.
    •  The little rectangle towards the top of the map is a tiny dog park.  On occasion, I have been able to get this space all to myself, but it not always open and is quite small.
  5. So, that leaves the blue zone.
  • Dog friendly (safe and allows dogs)
  • Easy walk from home (or easily accessible by car)
  • Plenty of green space and interesting textures, surfaces and smells to explore
  • Plenty of space to allow my dogs to get the distance they need from triggers
  • Tons of great places to sniff
  • Cemeteries
  • School campuses
  • Parks and playgrounds
  • SniffSpot
  • Office parking lots or industrial parks
  • Beaches and waterfronts
  • Quiet neighborhoods
  • Empty dog parks
  • Nature center
  • Visitor center or rest area
  • Picnic area or campground
  • Paths and trails (beware of narrow trails)
  • Golf courses
  • Private lands
  • Farms
  • Church grounds
Sniff Walk Adventures
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off for a sniff walk we go!
Sniff Walk Adventures
I think there is a bunny in here!
Sniff Walk Adventures
I’m sure it’s back in here somewhere!
Sniff Walk Adventures
Watching the World Go By.

Enrichment Activities using Food

Canine Enrichment
Canine Enrichment with Food
  • Emotional enrichment includes the love, trust and security of a safe and happy home.  Social enrichment is met through bonding and play with both humans and other dogs.  For example, things like fetch, tug, flirt poles, sprinkler games, bubbles and hide & seek.  
  • Physical enrichment is met through exercise.  E.g., hikes, parkour, sniff walks, running, playing, and many different types of dog sports.  
  • Mental enrichment is an activity whereby a dog’s mind is exercised through cognitive and sensory stimulation.  Mental and sensory stimulation can be accomplished through trick training, puzzles, music, nosework, play, new sights and sounds, etc. 
  • satisfies your dog’s natural instinct to forage
  • slows down eating to aid digestion and reduce bloat
  • makes meal times more interesting for picky eaters
  • provides an energy outlet
  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • reduces inclination to chew, bark and dig, etc.
  • calm a dog after a surgery, injury or spay/neuter when physical activity must be limited


Foods to ALWAYS Avoid!!

Chocolate
Grapes & Raisins
Macadamia nuts
Yeast dough
ANYTHING containing Xylitol

Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food
  1. If your dog is a beginner, start out by filling the cavity with kibble or dry treats. Then cap it off with some wet food, squeeze cheese or peanut butter.  The wet topper will keep your pup interested until they reach the kibble jackpot.  
  2. Once your pup has the hang of it, try filling with kibble that has been soaked in water or broth. In fact, you can even just mix the kibble with wet stuff  (pumpkin, yogurt, baby food, peanut butter, etc.).  
  3. Pack it loosely at first and then start packing it tighter.  
  4. Finally, once you have an advanced dog, you are ready to start freezing it.  However, if you are not able to freeze the entire toy, you can freeze things in ice cube trays or small silicone molds. Add this to your stuffer toy, along with kibble or ingredients.
Canine Enrichment with Food
  • Hoof/Horn/Bone: If you are like me, you have a variety of hooves, horns and bones lying around the house. Why not try using them as stuffing toys.
  • Paper Towel or Toilet Paper Tube: Put kibble in a tube. Now fold the ends over or cap the ends with packing paper. You can also fill the tube with kibble, cap both ends with wet ingredients and then freeze.
  • Kitchen Items – muffin tins, ice cube trays, old measuring cups, etc.
  • PVC: Pick up a pvc elbow or tee, stuff it and freeze it. Or you can just smear some peanut butter all around the inside surface.
  • Pupsicle:
    • Try putting a few treats/veggies/fruit into ice cube trays and fill with dilute broth. Freeze. Now, give a cube to your dog, add one to his bowl, put one in a kong or even float a couple of cubes in a bowl of water or even in a kiddy pool on a hot day.
    • Put treats/veggies/fruit and broth in a paper cup. Stick in a milk bone or carrot that will act as your pupsicle stick. Freeze, unmold and serve.
    • Same concept, but with an ice cream container. Freeze and unmold in the yard on a hot day.  If you have a large enough container, you can even freeze a ball or other toys into the mold.
Canine Enrichment with Food

Make Your Own Snuffle Mat
A simple snuffle mat can be constructed in an evening.

Materials:
– plastic sink mat
– 1-2 fleece blankets or about 1 ½ – 2 yards of fleece
– scissors or rotary cutter

Directions:
Cut the fleece into strips, about 1″ wide and 8 to 10” long.  Thread a strip through each hole in the sink mat and tie it off.  Make sure that you have tied a strip through every single hole in both directions.  Viola! – snuffle mat!


Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food