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:
– a cardboard box (e.g. a large shoe box) or a small carton
– a favourite toy
– empty toilet rolls
– crumpled-up newspaper
– old socks
– other safe and suitable objects you can think of

Here’s how to do it:
Choose the right depth of box, so that your dog can reach the bottom of it effortlessly with his nose. Fill the box with the objects listed above, among them the favourite toy.

For anxious dogs:
It can be a challenge for nervous dogs to place their muzzle in a box. In that case, place the objects at the top of the box within easy reach. As your dog gains confidence, you can gradually hide one or two objects a little deeper down.

Please take care to use no sharp objects or items small enough to be swallowed by mistake!

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