German Spitzes are smart but also very active and energetic. If you have a German Spitz you probably know what I’m talking about. If they are not given any proper ways to let out all that energy they will most likely find something to do on their own and trust me; that is probably not a good thing from your perspective.
I strongly advise you to get a hobby for you and your German Spitz and I definitely suggest that you go for walks every day. Maybe you could even try hiking or running? But you know what, life’s hard. What do you do when you get sick or you’re simply too busy for a short period of time and you do not have energy or time to do all of that with your German Spitz?
Try activating your dog at home. Mental exercise is hard for any dog, harder in fact than a simple 30-minute walk on a leash. You will see that just a few minutes of something where your dog needs to use his mental capacity can tire him up real fast.
I have listed here a few things you can try!
When you think of a trick to teach your dog you often make it too complicated in your mind. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be anything, even something stupid that you can think of. Here’s an example of something stupid like that: dog bowling.
Basically I just placed half-empty water bottles on the floor and waited for my dog to go check them out and then accidentally knock one of them over. As soon as he did this I rewarded him. Soon he learned that he was in fact supposed to knock them down. Just to make it fun for humans I called this “bowling”.
Here’s a video:
Most dogs love to eat! It is a really difficult task for them not to eat treats if they can see the treats but are not allowed to eat them.
By looking at the picture below you can see what I’ve done. I’ve placed treats all around my dog and he is not allowed to eat them before I tell him so.
Remember, this is really difficult so you should probably start with something easier: try placing just a couple of treats on the floor first and keep the waiting time short. Then slowly increase the difficulty level.
This one is even more difficult. I ordered my dog to go “down” and “place”. I put treats on the floor where he could see them and then I left my dog there and went to another room. Most dogs that have not done these types of exercises would get up and eat the treats while you’re not looking.
You could first practice just leaving your dog to place and once he’s learned to wait you could add the treats. Or you could try with treats but so that you are there in the same room the whole time. You could try with the previous exercise (patience 1) first and once you’ve mastered that one, move on to “patience 2”.
In the video, you will see that when I come back to the room and I give my dog permission to eat the treats, he moves as fast as he possibly can. It took quite a bit of patience from him not to eat them while I was away.
Activity toys are great for giving your dogs mental challenges. I have 3 different types of activity toys at home and we have used them a lot! The trick is not to do too much with these: let your dogs play twice maybe three times and then put the toys away. Don’t give your dog these types of toys too often. It’s important to keep these toys interesting.
Never give these types of activity toys to your dogs while you are away. These need to be played only under your supervision.
My all-time favorite dog activity toys are the ones by Nina Ottosson. They are great quality, durable and fun! In the video below, you will see an activity toy that is by Nina. You can get yours on Amazon.
Crawling is a fun trick that you can teach your dog. I have a video where I illustrate how you can easily teach this.
Keep the treat in your hand and slowly pull your hand away: you’ll see that your dog will follow your hand, crawling. The first time you do this it’s enough that your dog moves just an inch. Reward him before he lifts his butt off the floor! Slowly increase the distance that he has to crawl. Then add in your cue word for crawling and your dog will soon learn to connect the word with the action.
It takes time before your dog masters this but he will, as long as you keep practicing!
Food on the ground
Think about how much trouble the animals in the wild need to go through in order to get their supper, and how much of their mental capabilities they need to use in order to get it! Dogs in today’s society get their food delivered to them on a silver platter, and that is way too easy for them.
To change things up a bit you could try spreading the kibbles on the grass in your backyard and let your dog find them there one by one. My dogs love this! Instead of swallowing their food in seconds like they normally do, this way they spend several minutes trying to find the kibbles. It is such an easy but excellent way to activate your dogs!
I have a video of this here below.
Do a circle
You may have seen how a dog goes around objects or poles or trees. This time we are teaching your dog to do a circle around you. This is fairly easy for your dog to learn and this is a move that you can develop even further for example in a dog sport called dog dancing.
It is easier if you are on your knees at first but later on, you can be standing while your dog does a circle around you. Remember to practice both ways, to the right and left! It’s important for your dog’s physique to do an equal amount of exercise in both directions.
First, you can guide your dog the whole way with a treat in your hand. In time you’ll see that little by little he needs less guidance from you. Then you can start adding a cue word to this action and in the end, your dog will know what to do just from hearing the word.
Doing exercises like these develop not only your dog’s mental capabilities but your relationship with your dog as well. Doing these you’ll develop a special bond for spending time together. Remember, this is supposed to be fun! It doesn’t matter so much what you do but the most important thing is that you do something.
Your dog won’t judge you for inventing stupid tricks; it is the owners that make this too complicated sometimes. Have fun and don’t ask too much of yourself or your dog. Relax.
If you want more tricks and tips like these, go ahead and read my other article: 7 New Great Tricks You Can Teach Your German Spitz at Home