Tricks & Treats for Your Dog!
Oct 9th, 2014
I love my dog. I honestly consider her a part of my family. It’s because of this reason that I try and find the absolute best treats for her and find fun tricks to keep her active and healthy (with a Border Collie mix, the tricks are absolutely a necessary evil). For the fellow dog-lovers out there, I thought I’d share some tips I have found via Purina’s super helpful site or things that I have discovered on my own.
Bella, my dog, is a Border-Collie/Lab mix. This means two things: she is super smart and has a TON of energy. Sometimes, it can be hard to keep her active to her liking, so I started looking for new ways to keep her entertained and active.
This one is great! I put her in a sit/stay in one room of the house. I’ll then take her favorite toy or a treat and hide it somewhere on the other end of the house. Once I tell her “okay,” she goes and hunts for it in the house. It’s fun for her because she has to use her nose and smarts to find the treat, and it’s especially entertaining for me watching her figure out where I’ve hidden it. This game is perfect for when the weather isn’t exactly ideal for a long walk and we are forced to take our activities indoors.
Of course, this one is a given. However, the important component to always utilize during the game of fetch is the training aspect. I always use a good game of fetch as a chance to continue to work on her skills:
- “Give” – this is the command I’ve trained her on so she lays the toy on the ground, allowing me to pick it up and not start into a game of tug-of-war.
- “Leave it” – Once the toy is on the ground, I use this to remind her that it’s my turn to pick up the toy. Sometimes, if she’s especially excited, I’ll put her in a “sit/stay,” allowing me to pick up the toy.
- “Stay” – I’ll sometimes throw the toy and tell her to stay. It’s important for me that I be able to restrain her when I need to without having to hold her collar.
Once the game of fetch is over, another great trick I’ve managed to teach her is to pick up after herself. She’ll instinctively run toward the house when she decides she’s done, but I’ll remind her to grab her toy by simply saying, “Where’s your toy?” and she’ll go back and pick it up and bring it in the house. To get your pooch to do this for you, repetition is key; I did this by starting out pointing out the toy to her and asking her “Where’s your toy?” and rewarding her with praise when she’d pick it up.
For more great ideas, check out what other advice Purina has here.
When I first got Bella, I decided that I was going to be one of those dog-owners who didn’t allow their dog to have much people food. But, sometimes, those big brown eyes can get the best of any of us. I try and avoid things that are not natural for an animal to eat: dairy, seasoned meats, processed food, etc. I also limit treats for her because these can add excess calories that she doesn’t need. But when I do give her a special treat, other than Purina’s great selection of dog treats, some of Bella’s favorites are:
- Apples: Seriously…this dog goes absolutely nuts for apples. I’ll take an apple that might be a little mealy and instead of tossing it, I cut it up and use it for treats for her. She LOVES them and they’re good for her!
- Bananas: I’ll share a bite of my banana with her and this makes her tail wag unlike anything else.
- Baby Carrots: I’m not sure I’ve seen a dog freak out for vegetables quite like Bella does for baby carrots. She’d eat them all day if I let her!
If you need more advice, Purina’s experts have some great tips about the do’s and don’ts of giving our pups treats .