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So, I'm looking for some fun ways to exercise one of my dogs. My other dog LOVES fetch, so I play that with her. But the other one, I'm still working on teaching him to fetch, and he doesn't enjoy it for more than a few minutes at a time, and he has to be "in the mood" lol. So any good ways to exercise him? He's just a little Shih Tzu, and he doesn't have a ton of energy, but I'd like to be able to get it out of him every single morning, instead of only when it's nice enough outside, as here, lately, our weather has been all over...from nice and warm, to really hot, freezing, really windy, rainy, exc. And I just can't walk him in every kind of weather because he doesn't like it, especially in the rain, and his hair takes forever to dry unless I blow dry it, and he's not a big fan of the blow dryer.

I already do some agility work with him, but he doesn't focus for very long on anything that seems like "training". I'd love some stuff I could do inside with him. I do have a tredmill, but I haven't tried him on it in awhile. So, any ideas would be great :p He can be a little picky, but we'd try any suggestions :3

~IJMB
 

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I love games. If he likes food, even better.

1. Training. Clicker training is like a big game. The goal being get the cookie, the rules being whatever you make up. "If I put my butt on the ground I get a cookie? Nice!" You can do a lot of fun games that seem like games but are really training too.

2. Find it. Taking a piece of yummy food and putting it in a plastic easter egg. Letting the dog sniff it then putting him in another room. Now hide it, someplace easy where he will find it quickly, Let him in the room and give a "find it" command. When he finds it praise and open the egg for him to eat the cookie. If he likes this game and is starting to "get it" then start hiding it in harder and harder places. This gets dogs using their nose, their memory (where was it last time?), and gets them mentally and physically working.

3. Tug/flirt pole. Does your log like chasing moving things? A stick of some sort with a rope attached to it and a toy attached to the end of a rope basically makes a rudimentary "fishing for dogs" type of toy. You can wriggle the toy on the floor and have him chase it, just keeping it out of reach. Occasionally let him get it and "win" too. Any kind of tug game needs to have at least one rule which is "the dog drops the toy when you give him a command". So you might need to teach him a command for drop it.

4. Hide n' Seek. Get a handful of something spectacular (pieces of chicken, hot dog, cheese, etc.) and go hide (when he isn't looking). Then call him. When he finds you, give him a couple treats and praise heavily. Do it again. This rewards him for 1. keeping an eye on you (cause you silly humans keep getting yourself lost) and 2. rewards him coming when called.

5. Agility games. There are a ton of agility games to play to help teach dogs the rudimentary foundations of agility too. Things like balancing, hind end awareness, being comfortable with things moving underneath you, etc. If you Google "agility foundation exercises" you should get a lot of hits.

For his lack of focus while training, what kind of training do you do? Are you using good enough treats? Sometimes a dog's lack of focus is because he is either not interested (so upping the rate of reinforcement and/or the yumminess of the treats will help) or he just doesn't understand (so you just break down the behaviors into easier steps so he "gets it" easier).

Edit: For the treadmill you just want to go slow if you decide to train him in this. As in, make the treadmill the best place ever before even turning it on. You want him to associate the treadmill with good things before starting on a low low setting and letting him decide for himself whether he likes it or not. Not saying you will, but don't just turn it on and flop him on it because he may get scared and panic and that fear is a lot harder to counter condition.
 

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Thanks... the toy on the stick sounds very good.

I'm sorta slack on the formal training, but am obsessive about making "life" function in ways that encourage good behavior. Coming when called is the big one...and running back into the house when called, too... those are the two that produce cheese.

Too prevent boredom with toys, the bag idea seems like a cool way to give the dog some living room entertainment... something I can just plop on the floor, and the dog can go to town with it. Just not sure about the best type of material...or if something exists... possibly in an Army/Navy store, that can serve the purpose safely.
 

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Thanks Nil :) I love doing clicker training! He gets super excited whenever I pull out the clicker XD And I use different treats, depending on what I'm training. I generally use either cheese or one of the many kinds of dog treats we have lol. He loves the cheese, but still gets distracted after a little while, plus I'm not fully comfortable with it myself, as I'm allergic(but will only have any allergic reactions if I eat any).

Thanks for all the ideas! :D Can't wait to try them all out :)

It's fine ohbehave :)

~IJMB
 

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I second the flirt pole. I actually just recently made one for my dog and he LOVES it. Really wears him out in a relatively short time. It's great for those times when you simply don't have time for a long walk.

I went to Lowe's and got a 5ft piece of 1/2" PVC pipe and 15 feet of nylon rope (came to about $5 total). I ended up cutting a few extra feet off the rope. But I wanted it long so I could adjust the length at will. Then you just slip the rope through the pipe. Tie a knot on one end so the rope can't slip back through. This will be the end of the pipe that you hold on to. Then just tie a toy to the other end. Voila. Super simple. Super cheap. Tons of fun for you and your dog.

My guy is a pit mix though so since you have a Shih Tzu you could probably get away with about a 3 ft piece of pipe and a shorter rope. But it's really just your preference. Just take into consideration how much room you will have to swing it around. I figured it was better to buy longer pipe and rope than I needed as you can always cut it shorter, but can't make it longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks ^^ I've heard of the flirt pole before, just haven't made one because I'm not convinced yet :p Bailey likes chasing SOME things...sometimes XD He's silly :p

~IJMB
 

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Kabota LOVES his flirt pole. He woke my husband up by dragging it all the way upstairs and onto the bed yesterday! I tie his toys to the string and swap them out frequently. When he gets a good grip, I switch to tug. We have a great time.

If you don't want to waste money before you know he likes it, tie some dollar store twine to a broom and see. That's what I did. Stupid looking, but then you know whether it's worth a trip to home depot.

Oh, and for training, I don't train more than 5 minutes at a time, but I do it 5-7 times a day. That keeps Kabota excited and eager for more clicks and treats and we don't get bored. (frankly, I'm having a harder time with extended down stays than he is. Waiting 60 seconds kills me.)
 
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