Sample Curriculum for What Dogs Want Enrichment & Learning Academy:
For body awareness, we will be re-visiting the favorite Building Bridges activity. This is a great one for focus, impulse control, AND building confidence. We will see just how far we can build our bridges and have fun with some broken bridges too!
We will do a little more work circling pylons and maybe even challenge the pups to circle around other objects. This is a fun way to build core strength, balance and coordination while also working on their focus and ability to follow directions.
We will start working on 'rabbit hole' games which challenges the dogs to use their paws to fish objects out from tubes. This builds sensitivity in their paws, teaches them how to use them and requires a lot of thought instead of just bullying through a game to get to the end result.
For problem solving (and focus too!), we are going to play 'Open Sesame'. The dogs will have to figure out how to get through or past a barrier or blocked entrance to get to a treat or toy hidden in a tunnel.
We are also going to have fun with the 'Fence Experiment'-can your dog figure out how to get around a fence or other barrier to get to a treat or toy that is in view? There are a lot of fun ways to change up this challenge, so we will probably be working on these all month.
We will also try to fit in some more 'fishing' challenges where the dogs pull on a rope to access a toy or treat. We started that last month and found that dogs either have a real talent for this or found it exceedingly difficult.... would be fun to help build or reinforce those skills because it is a great mentally challenging activity that does not need a lot of space and can be played a lot of different ways.
To work on impulse control, we will be continuing having the dogs "sit" to ask for things they want (including starting a game).
We will be working with some of the dogs who are fairly reliable with their 'stay' request on the kibble challenge. We did not get too much of that done last month and it is a great challenge with a HUGE payoff if the dogs can wait for us to spell out their name in carrot bits or kibble.
Dogs who are new at learning the 'stay' cue will work on building bridges which is a fun way to learn that cue.
For fun: We will find some time to play Scuba Dog since it is a great cool-off activity that also helps dogs problem solve while building confidence around water. And... we will try to get some dancing going again too!
*****For homework this month, I encourage all of you to play 'Building Bridges' at home. If you do not already know how to play, keep an eye on Instagram and/or Facebook this week because the dogs will be demonstrating it for you :) They all know this game and love it!
I also will encourage you to play 'Hide and Seek' with your pups as it is a fun way to work on your dog's focus, their recall and problem solving too. If you have another human to play with, one of you can hide somewhere in the house or outdoors (if it's not too hot!) while the other keeps your dog entertained, then releases them to go find their person! Take turns hiding and everyone will have a great time.