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Due to our long cold spell, we have been figuring out ways to "wear out" our cairn terrier indoors.  Oban doesn't like to go outside when it is this cold, and it is dangerous for him (and us) to be out there too long anyway. He does spend plenty of time in his various places for sleeping throughout the house, but he also wants us to play with him more than he does when he gets regular walks (not possible in the weather, even with a coat and boots, which he firmly rejects...).

I offer a few suggestions for how we are wearing him out, and would welcome more!

(1) We play "come to the person and get a treat."  I stay downstairs in the living room, and Steve goes upstairs into his study.  We get the dog, and let him know we have high value treats.  I call him to me, and give him a treat.  Then Steve calls him from upstairs -- he runs up the stairs to get his treat.  Then I call him again, and he has to run down to get his treat.  Repeat as often as there are treats...and keep him moving...

(2) Indoors ball - we play fetch in the back hallway, where Oban can get a good run going without bouncing the ball off the many breakables in the living and dining rooms.  It is not a long run-- maybe 20 feet -- but we keep two balls going so he has to be quick about his retrieving.

Years ago I had a treadmill, and I tried to figure out how to get Allie to walk on it.  She didn't ever figure it out, and it gave me shin splints too often.  We don't have it any more...

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Mental games are good also. Hide a treat for dog to find. Puzzles - though once Angus figured them out he did them in a flash  so recommend several cheaper ones rather than one two expensive ones. Play hide and seek. Tell dog to stay - you hide somewhere, then  call and dog comes looking. No need for treat just happy praise. Teach to jump through a hoop or over a stick or through a tunnel made of whatever you can put together.



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Yeah, we do the same kind of games.

  1. The “Come” game up and down the stairs
  2. “Find the Cookies” - they have to stay in a different room while I hide tiny pieces of treats in the living room.  When I call, they race around trying to find them.
  3. Teach new tricks or review all the old tricks/training we learned in obedience class.  Those mental games really do wear them out.
  4. Get out a new toy that I’ve stockpiled for bad weather.  New toys always entertain them.
  5. I have two, so making them do different commands at the same time is hard and really makes them think.  For example, I make them both sit/stay and then release Phinney to come but Kirby has to continue to stay.  Or I tell one to sit and the other to lay down.  It takes a couple of times to practice but then they get the idea.  That one really takes concentration!

We’ve got one of those squirrel games where there’s a “log” with little stuffed squirrels inside and they have to figure out how to get them out.  It’s never interested or challenged my boys at all.  They can get the squirrels out without even thinking about it and then just proceed to tear them apart.  


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Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/14/2018 at 10:24 AM, kjwarnold said:

They can get the squirrels out without even thinking about it and then just proceed to tear them apart.

I have to laugh, sounds like something Maisie would do.  Giving her a new toy does keep her busy for a while until she gets the squeaker out, then it's game over.  I find that I purchase the cheaper toys on sale in order to satisfy her destructive side.

It's been quite a long, cold, icy, snowy winter here in MA.  At times the ice is so bad that I can't walk Maisie unless I have skis or snow shoes on and even then, I'm putting my life in danger.  When Maisie see's a squirrel or something that peaks her interest, she tries to make a dash toward it and boom I'm on the ground.  I'm so looking forward to Spring.

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we do lots of tricks and training and use kibble as treats and count them towards her chow for the day.  she will do ANYthing for cookies!



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