Furloughed with Furry Friends

Our small women-owned dog training business serves the Metro Washington DC area.  The government shutdown affects many people in our area. If you find yourself furloughed at home on an unexpected staycation, here are some things you can work on with your dog and cat. (After you catch up on Game of Thrones and organize your home of course.)

Does your dog bark at other dogs on TV?

You’ll need about 20 minutes, one hungry dog, high value treats like meatballs, and one Netflix subscription. Netflix has a series called Dogs. While all of the episodes have dogs, some of the episodes have more barking and running dogs than others. Being mindful of the amount of stimulation your dog can handle, pick one of the episodes. As soon as your dog hears/sees the dogs on TV, feed your dog the whole time he listens to/watches the dogs on TV. Turn the show off and stop feeding. Turn the show back on, wait for your dog to hear/see the dogs then start feeding.  Turn the show off and stop feeding. Rinse and repeat!

Draco and his person who inspired this post. In this video, they are on step 2 of waiting for Draco to see the dog, stay quiet, look back at his person, then get a treat.

Does your dog or cat countersurf?

Fold a towel or pick a mat for your cat or dog to sit on.  Put a treat in front of your dog’s/cat’s nose and lure him to the mat.  Once he’s settled on the mat, feed him there. You can pretend to prepare a meal while you bring your cat/dog treats for sitting on his mat. Yup, you are your pet's treat drone. At first, you’ll want to frequently reward him for sitting on his mat. Then, see how long he’ll sit on his mat between treats. Need to dock the treat drone? You can always give your dog something long lasting to chew on for hands free reinforcement. Want hands free reinforcement for your cat? You can squeeze canned cheese onto a vertical surface for your cat to lick while he's on the mat.

Play Hide And Seek!

You can work on your dog or cat coming when called and get your steps in at the same time! Grab a toy and some fabulous treats. Hide and call your pet. When she gets to you, play with her and feed her. We want your pet to think she has arrived at the best party ever when she finds you!

Clean Up!

Why should you be the only one tidying up your home? Teach your dog to put her toys away. As your dog is holding a toy, put her toy basket underneath. Hold a treat next to her muzzle. When she drops the toy into the basket, feed her. If your dog knows “drop it”, you can also cue her to drop the toy into the basket. Engage her with the toy again. Ask her to drop it or present the treat. When she drops it into the basket, give her a treat and start from the beginning. When your dog is dropping the toy into the basket quickly and without error eight out of ten times, move the basket 6 inches away from her. Will she move towards the basket and drop her toy in?


Here’s an article about where furloughed government workers can get help with pet supplies: http://wjla.com/news/local/furloughed-federal-workers-with-pets-can-get-help-from-dc-pet-pantry

We hope these ideas get you started and help bust the boredom. If nothing else, this time off may give you training and bonding time with your pet. Let us know how it goes and if you need training help! www.BehaviorUnited.com

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