If you own a dog in an apartment, you have surely run into the difficulty of combining adequate exercise with the space restrictions that come with apartment living. Especially during poor weather or long winter evenings, it can be tricky to get your dog tired enough.
Unfortunately, lack of mental and physical stimulation not only results in a bored dog, but can actually create behavioral issues such as reactivity towards other dogs, frequent potty accidents or separation anxiety.
It is much easier to prevent these than to fix them — which is why these indoor dog games are the perfect way to tire out your dogs and keep them happy and healthy. Even just five minutes of playing with your canine friends every day will make a noticeable difference in their behavior and focus.
Jump The Leg
Sit on the floor, stretch one leg out in front of you and put your foot against a couch or wall. Now toss treats to both sides of your leg, so that your dog has to jump over it to get them. This repeated bouncing motion is very tiring for dogs — akin to humans jumping straight up in the air over and over — and even a few minutes of this will leave your dog panting. Make sure that you only play this on a surface with good traction, to prevent any accidents.
Put a treat in your dog’s crate. Show him and let him run into the crate to get the treat. Repeat this a couple times. Now you put the treat into the crate and walk a couple of steps away with your dog. Formulate a call like “Ready… steady… go!” and let him run into the crate. Repeat this a couple times.
If your dog is good at the last step, you can move further and further away from the crate. Eventually you can let him race to his crate even from another room or the hallway. Running to his crate and eating the treat will become more challenging and fun the further you move away.
This game is not just fun for your dog, but will also strengthen the positive association with the crate and make it a happy place for your dog. Especially for apartment dogs, it is very important to be able to settle quietly and happily in their place.
Take a blanket or beach towel and put it on your floor. Now hide some treats underneath it and let your dog figure out how to get to them. Dogs are not naturally good at understanding that they have to lift one corner to gain access to the cookies underneath. Solving this food puzzle will really work your dog’s brain. If he solves it, repeat it a couple times. Repeating brain games will teach your dog to pay attention to his thinking process and strengthen his memory. Over time you will also see a positive effect on his overall obedience skills from this, because the better he can think and remember, the better he will behave overall.
Take several pillows. Start out by stacking two pillows and luring your dog up on them with a cookie. If this proves to be no challenge, take a third pillow! It is tricky for your dog to jump up and keep a proper balance, as the softness of the pillows will make the little tower unstable. In competitive dog sports, exercises on unstable surfaces like this are used frequently to increase the dog’s strength and coordination. By practicing your dog’s skills in these areas, you can challenge him in novel and creative ways. And if your dog is successful with three pillows, try four or even five!
Take your blanket or beach towel again and put it on the floor in front of you. Distribute treats on it. Now take one end and roll up the blanket, just like a yoga mat. When you have it all rolled up, present it to your dog. Now it is her turn to figure out how to get all the treats inside the treat burrito. Again, unrolling it usually does not come to the dog’s mind right away, so the puzzle fun will keep her entertained for quite a while.
Take a cardboard box and fill it with crumpled-up newspapers. Now drop treats in there and let your dog use scent to find them. This is a great activity especially for anxious dogs, as sniffing is a very calming activity. In fact, just a few minutes of sniffing can significantly lower a dog’s heart rate and reduce stress. If your dog is afraid or nervous, daily sniffing can vastly improve the overall mood and behavior.
Note: this might be a game that you only play in the bathroom, as it can get messy.
Take a salad bowl and fill it with water. Now put some treats in there, or even just your dog’s regular dry food. Let her dive in to get the goodies. This game can be a real thinking challenge and also strengthen your dog’s confidence. Many dogs start out not understanding how they can get the treats and only learn over time to effectively snatch them out of the water.
How Often Should You Play?
You can play these games with your dog every single day. Your dog will let you know when it becomes too much: If he is noticeably unmotivated or slow, you should take a day off. Different dog breeds vary a lot in how much and how often they want to play and train. While some dogs from working breeds such as German Shepherds can play all day long, others — for example a Pug — want to have their well-deserved breaks.
Just like people, dogs have a daily rhythm of activity and rest. They usually are most awake in the mornings and evenings. Especially at night, they can be pretty pushy and needy for attention. Try out the games above during this time and see if it makes your dog calmer and easier to manage.
If you have more than one dog, you might need to separate them for the games so that they do not interfere and show resource guarding tendencies. If the dogs enjoy the games they might become pretty protective over the treats. It is best to be safe and not let them get into any struggles over whose turn it is.
About the author: Steffi Trott is the founder of SpiritDog Training, an online dog training program. She strives to bring positive, science-based and fun training to dog owners all over the world. She lives with her own three dogs in Albuquerque, NM. They compete in the dog sport of agility and enjoy playing games together daily.
Published at Thu, 28 May 2020 08:30:02 +0000
The current coronavirus pandemic has forced us to spend more time inside our homes than ever before – and having a comfortably sized home and a well-fitted kitchen that allows you to cook tasty meals certainly makes the lockdown easier to withstand. Apparently, Chicagoans are inspired when it comes to housing preferences. They have been interested in generously sized interiors and amenities such as outdoor space for a while now.
Chicago’s single family homes grew larger over the last decade
The size of single family homes in Chicago is influenced by the preferences of the buyers on one hand and by the size of the plots on the other. Most lots in the city of Chicago have a standard size of 25×125 feet, and you can find even smaller ones. The price of land lots suitable for house building varies depending on location, but they are definitely not cheap, usually in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. Under these circumstances, every square foot is precious and it’s no wonder that builders are leaning toward houses that occupy as much of the land plot as possible.
Builders are notorious for maximizing square footage for resale, says Jason Rowland, founder of Rowland Group in Chicago, and whatever number they can achieve through zoning rights, they will build. Rowland adds that the square footage of new builds in Chicago really started to get maxed out around the 2011-2013 timeframe, when the previous economic crisis ended. The preference toward building large homes stuck and continues today.
Buyers of single family homes start their search at the 3,000-3,500 square feet baseline
Builders maximizing plots is not the only reason why new-built homes in Chicago are growing larger and larger. In fact, buyers seem to be equally interested in purchasing generously sized houses.
“Most single family home buyers use that 3,000/3,500 square footage as the baseline in their search. Depending on lot size and zoning, you can add extra square footage to the floorplan which can put you into the 4,000/5,000 range,” explained Jason Rowland, a real estate broker with more than $100 million in closed transactions.
One of the reasons why people want larger homes is the need for storage space. “Storage is a consistent ask from buyers as everyone has stuff. Storage on multiple floors is ideal if it’s possible, which will help detour the need for off-site storage,” Rowland added. However, if a home still doesn’t have enough storage space, a storage unit in Chicago costs you around $100 per month, relatively affordable for a market of its size. National rents are currently somewhere around $116, according to Yardi Matrix.
In terms of location, the most popular neighborhoods for single family homes are Andersonville/West Lakeview and North Center/Lincoln Square, according to Rowland. “These areas offer that tree-lined street, green space and neighborhood feel buyers are seeking. All these neighborhoods encompass new and exciting lifestyle options, parks and access to public transportation.”
Rowland emphasized that they are seeing a heightened interest in houses located near to CTA and public transportation areas, particularly from buyers of starter homes.
Home offices projected to be the next big thing in housing
The most sought-after amenities by Chicagoans on the market for a new home are large, well-fitted kitchens, and access to some type of outdoor space. Both features proved to be true lifesavers during the last few months, as families dealt with a lockdown and spent all of their time at home. Therefore, it’s predictable that both amenities will continue to be at the top of buyers’ lists of preferences.
“The kitchen is still king and a well-thought-out floorplan that accommodates a gourmet kitchen is clutch. Outdoor space is a very close second, whether that comes as a rooftop deck or small yard in the rear it’s a must have for today’s luxury buyers,” notices Rowland.
The coronavirus pandemic is very likely to spur a new trend when it comes to new builds – the home office will most likely be seen from now on as an essential amenity. Millions of people all over the country are working from home right now. It’s not far-fetched to imagine that, even when the public health emergency ends, working from home will continue being a lot more common than it was in the past.
“I think that COVID-19 is impacting the work-from-home space of many households and with that, we will see an emphasis on the home office. I believe we are at the starting gates for the home office to be a real ask for new buyers. All the amenities (low-voltage connectivity, good light, speakers, sound proofing, etc.) that are ideal for a home office will be additions going forward,” Rowland emphasized.
Published at Thu, 28 May 2020 06:35:42 +0000