My heart just dropped.
I was totally caught up playing "Super Mario Bros. Wii," trying to beat this dern castle, when I looked down at Denali. He was lying beside me and he looked just ... he looked sad. Or bored. Or both. I am sure he would have loved to go outside and romp in the snow but I had already been out in the snow – for 3.5 miles. I don’t like the snow that much to go out again.
I needed to do something to cure Denali’s forlorn look – and my guilt. A game! For dogs! I told my husband to get off the couch and grab some dry food to be used as treats. I positioned Mark at one end of the living room and myself at the other end. I called Denali to me and asked him to sit. I asked him to "Shake." I gave the command "Down." Then I had my husband call Denali, ask him to sit and issue a series of commands. We went back and forth, back and forth. Well, Denali did. For 15 minutes, we did this and he seemed to love it.
Of course, the game only works when my husband is home. It’s not super fun for me to run back and forth in the living room. I needed a solo game, and "Find It" was the solution. I sequestered Denali in the bathroom while I hid dry food around the living room. After there were sufficient piles on the window sill, next to the entertainment stand and in the corner by the bookshelf, I let Denali out. I showed him a treat and told him to "Find it." He looked confused. So I showed him to the first hidden spot, then the next, until he had successfully eaten all of the food.
It might take a couple tries for Denali to understand "Find It" but I think he still likes it. He gets food – always a plus – and he gets some quality with me – his favorite.