In every WufWuf box, there is always a selection of treats for our dogs to enjoy! Sometimes these are chews like the yak milk bar, and other times they are crunchy or soft training treats. I am all for giving a dog a treat for doing nothing, but sometimes we want to use them to our advantage, whether that is to help mentally tire our dogs out, or to train a behaviour we would like repeated. Below I have listed 5 different activities you can do with the selection of treats that come in your boxes! Have fun!
1. Hide and Seek!
Engage that nose in a game of hide and seek! The dog’s nose is incredibly powerful, and is your ticket to a nice quiet afternoon! Just 10 minutes of them engaging their nose in scent games, is the equivalent energy expenditure as an hour of physical exercise. Now that the nights are closing in and the weather is changing for the worse, substituting a walk for some sniffing exercises and training inside can be a godsend.
- Place your dog behind a baby gate or in their crate if crate trained, or have them out of the room in some way.
- Break 4-5 treats up into small pieces and then place them around the room, all on ground level. I place mine next to the skirting boards, wrapped up in a towel, next to the legs of the chairs, and randomly on the floor.
- Let your dog into the room with a “Find it” cue and watch them go on a treasure hunt and listen out for that nose working overtime!
- A more advanced level of this game is to place bits of the treats at different heights; on the couch or on top of a chair for example. Scenting upwards can be more challenging.
2. Capture a behaviour you like
Capturing means that you wait for your dog to perform a behaviour naturally and unpromoted, and then mark and reward it. Have your WufWuf treats in an easily accessible place to you (I like to pour my treats into air tight jars once I have opened the packet, and these jars are dotted around my apartment). The moment you observe your dog doing a behaviour you like and would like them to do again, mark with a click or your marker word, and quickly give them a treat! Some behaviours that you can capture include:
- Shaking off (helpful to then put on a cue so you can ask your dog to shake off the rain before you get inside)
- Calmly greeting a visitor
- Laying on their bed while you are eating dinner
Once you have captured lots of examples of the behaviour you are looking for, then you can start to put it on a verbal cue word.
3. Fill a puzzle toy
Puzzle and enrichment toys are a fantastic way of helping your dog build some self-confidence, work their brains, and tire them out.
- Some toys like the Bob-A-Lot need smaller treats so that they can fall out of the opening.
- Other toys like some of the Nina Ottesen puzzle games can hold bigger treats. I have used the crunchy bone treats from the peanut butter Doggie Dippers in a previous WufWuf box for this.
- I then used the peanut butter to spread on to a licki-mat and froze it
4. Practise your recall
I have written another post about recall but another game you can play utilising those WufWuf treats is as follows:
- In one hand, have a handful of your dog’s dried kibble, or other crunchy low value treat.
- In your other hand, have the WufWuf treats ready to go.
- Throw a low value treat away from you, saying “find it”. The moment your dog has gone to find it and eat it, call your dog using a recall cue.
- The moment he comes running back to you, give your marker word or click, and then give him a high value WufWuf treat.
- Wait a few seconds, then throw a low value treat away from you again with the words “find it”.
- As he is off finding that treat, move to a different spot in the room.
- Use your recall cue as soon as he has finished eating that treat, and be ready to mark and reward with a WufWuf treat as soon as he gets back to you!
5. Save it as a high value reward
Do you know where the WufWuf treats rank in order of value to your dog? Usually, the softer and smellier a treat, the higher value it is! Think of it this way; carrot sticks are just fine, I would do something that required fairly minimal effort in order to be rewarded with one of these. Perhaps pass someone the remote control for the TV. However, for a glass of wine, or a slice of cake, I would be willing to do something that was a much greater effort, for example cleaning the bathroom or visiting IKEA on a Bank Holiday. This is the same with your dog! He is unlikely to listen to a “leave it” cue when he comes across some fries on the floor, if he is only rewarded with his version of carrot sticks.
About the Author
My name is Jennifer Billot, MSc CPDT-KA, and I am the owner and founder of Bone Ball Bark, a force-free dog training company in London.I have an almost 2 year old, high energy, working line Labrador who is a big fan of WufWuf boxes!