12 brilliant play ideas for you, for your dog, for great teams!
In 2016, Good Dog Practice is featuring a dog-friendly activity once a month, by courtesy of guest author, Monika Stanzig (IDBTS, certified by Sheila Harper). 
These are not meant as tasks or training ideas.  Rather, they are a way of sharing relaxed, quality time together. Your dog can gain confidence by doing problem-solving activities as independently as possible, while enjoying your support and attention. Just for fun!
Consistent with the values of Good Dog Practice, we feel that our dogs are not obliged to be interested, nor should they be pressured to complete a task. If they prefer to do something else or just rest, that’s just fine! Maybe another time! 🙂 A tip: many dogs take a pause from a problem-solving challenge and come back to it later. If the dog looks for your support, you can of course assist him or her. 
(These activities are chosen with care, but come without guarantee for correctness or completeness. They are meant as quality-time activities.  Please be present with your dog while he is doing them, also for safety reasons. Please note, we take no legal responsibility for any mishaps, damage or injury. All rights to text and photographs reserved.)

You will need:
– small balls
– an empty sand box or shell
– a few dog biscuits or a toy

This is how it’s done:
Fill the box or shell with the balls.

Die Bälle sind bereit!

The balls are in the tub.

Hide some treats among them, or one of your dog’s favourite toys.

Smiley erkundet die ersten Leckerlis.

Smiley explores the first treat she finds.

Many dogs start nosing around between the balls immediately. Others tend to take their time, as it feels strange to them at first. Let’s see which group your dog belongs to!

Smiley beim Erschnüffeln weiterer Leckerlis.

Smiley continues the search for more treats.

For the sake of quality time together, and also for reasons of safety, it is important to accompany your dog during this activity.  Some plastic balls tend to split if a dog bites into them.

Ist da noch etwas versteckt?

Are there any left in there?

NB: The floor of a plastic sand shell is slippery! Put in a non-slip mat or stick masking tape in it.

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