Activities For Small Dogs

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Introduction

While some people are dog lovers, some prefer small dogs. These people may live in a small home or an apartment, the size of which requires them to have a small pet. However, even though small dogs may not require a large space to live, they may be energetic and mischievous if they are not given the proper amount of exercise and activity on a regular basis. Small dogs may need to take their exercise while indoors. This may be due to an aversion to the extreme heat or cold. You may not have a large backyard for the pup to play in. Small dogs generally need a minimum of less than a half hour of daily activity, and the bonding experience that you'll have is invaluable.

Hide and Seek

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description
Hide and seek is a simple activity that gives your pup some mental stimulation without requiring a lot of physical demands. You can play this game indoors or outdoors. It is especially good for keeping your pup mentally stimulated (read - NOT bored!) This game is great for rainy days when you yourself don't seem to have much to do. Word to the Wise: You WILL need to teach your pup the commands "sit" and "stay" before embarking on this activity. Once your pup knows what you expect, the two of you can spend a great deal of time at play.
Step
1
Teach the commands
You will need to ensure that your pup understands "sit" and "stay" before you can begin this game. First, grab a treat. Be sure to get your pup's attention. Stand in front of the dog while they are looking at you. Show your dog the treat. Hold it behind his head. Hold it close enough to your pup's head so that they do not try to jump for it. Say "sit." Once they have been still for about three seconds, give them the treat. If your dog has a hard time, get near a corner of the room so that the dog can't jump or move backward to try to get the treat.
Step
2
Begin the fun
Command your dog to sit and stay (You can do the same steps to teach your dog to stay as you can with the command "sit."). At first, you might want to find a fairly easy place, not too far from your pup. Command the pup to come to you. Call until the dog finds you. When the pup arrives, offer a treat and praise.
Step
3
Add a little difficulty
Once your dog has the gist of what you expect, add some difficulty. If you have stairs, you might want to utilize them. Go upstairs and call to your pup. Make your dog come up the stairs. Hide in a room on another floor (perhaps in the basement?). Any time you can add a twist to the game, all the more fun for you and your pooch!
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Search and Sniff

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
30 min
Items needed
muffin tin
tennis balls
small treats
Activity description
Want to see your pup have a little fun with minimal effort on your part? Try Search and Sniff. You will want to begin by using treats - the more aromatic the better - to train your pup in what to expect. Find an old muffin tin, throw in a few tennis balls (this depends on the size of your small dog - you might want to find smaller balls that fit your pup's mouth), and voila! You have a fun activity for your pup that requires very little out of you.
Step
1
Teach the game
Place a treat in each of the empty muffin tins. Remember, they should be particularly yummy and smelly. Then place a tennis ball on top of each treat. Tell your dog to find the treat.
Step
2
Just let it go
Really, this activity is so simple that all you need to do is set the tin down and let the dog sniff around. Soon, your dog will learn that they can use their nose to move the ball around and obtain the treat.
Step
3
Change it up
You may want to replace the treats with small kibble or sliced hot dog bites. You can even change the "toppers" - the first suggestion is the tennis balls, but you can replace this with other bite-sized toys if you wish.
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Hall Ball

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
20 min
Items needed
tennis ball or other small ball
Activity description
Have a fairly long hallway in your home or apartment? Utilize it to play "hall ball" with your pup! Because your dog is so small, your pal will actually get a good bit of exercise running back and forth chasing the tennis ball. This is great for small homes or homes without a yard for outdoor play. Your dog can also play this game any time of the year! Your pup will enjoy the interactive play that this game provides. Remember, if your small dog is brachycephalic, be sure to take some breaks so that your pup doesn't get too winded.
Step
1
Grab a ball and teach
Most dogs have an innate sense of how to play Go Fetch, and, in many ways, that is exactly what this game entails. Simply grab a ball. Get your pup's attention. Allow the dog to see you throwing the ball. Then, command the dog to go after the ball.
Step
2
Retrieve and return
If your dog doesn't know how to retrieve the ball AND bring it back to you, then you'll need to work on that. Once your dog has grabbed the bouncing ball, praise the dog for catching it. Then, call your dog to you. Once the pup returns to you with the ball, teach your furry companion to "give." You need to ensure that your dog willingly drops the ball in your hand.
Step
3
Let's do it again!
Once your happy dog has mastered chasing the ball, grabbing the item and bringing it to you, they have mastered the game. This activity can provide much enjoyment and you can change the fun simply by changing the item to be fetched. Try your dog's favorite stuffy, or give them a surprise - a new toy to play hall fetch with.
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More Fun Ideas...

Stuffed Food Puzzle Toy

Make your pup work for their food! Stuff a Kong or other food puzzle toy with a few treats, set it in the floor, and let Fido go to work!

Work on Commands

Spend an afternoon every couple of weeks or so going over the tricks that your dog already knows - sit, stay, shake. This is great mental activity for your pup.

Conclusion

Your small dog has a need to burn off energy just as any larger dog does! Keep your pup on their toes by introducing interesting games that stimulate both your pup's mind and body. Remember, a dog with built-up energy is often a recipe for disaster! Work off that energy with just a few moments of play every day.