After last week’s strange temperature spike (50 degrees! in January! in southern Indiana!), we’re back down to the more typical 14-degree weather. Of course, when it gets this cold, it’s impossible to walk the dogs. I can barely stand to be outside to walk to my car, let alone around the block… and that’s when I’m wearing my puffy coat, lined boots, gloves, and a hat. So in addition to our indoor agility course, we’ve been finding lots of other indoor activities.
One of their favorite indoor games is “find it.” Basically, I put them in a wait on their beds and sneak off to hide a toy somewhere in the house. Not only does it keep them moving, but it also exercises their senses and gets them thinking! Plus, I’ve recently started working on specificity: find hedgehog, find rope, etc.
Whoever finds the toy gets a few victory chews before I hide it again.
Here’s where Lucas’ confidence issues come in: He finds the toy many, many times. However, he will only extract the toy from its hiding spot IF it’s somewhere he is totally confident. For instance, when he spots the toy on a dining room chair, he will poke his big old head under there and get the toy (sorry for the blurriness, he was moving too fast):
However, if that same toy is hidden on my desk chair -which has wheels and is, therefore, frightening – he will spot the toy, stare at it for 2-3 seconds, then keep looking. I don’t know why he does this. I have a few theories: he doesn’t want to clue Emmett in on its location, he’s hoping to find another toy somewhere else, he’s stalling to work up the courage to grab it. Who knows? But, of course, Emmett always ends up with the toy because Emmett is afraid of absolutely nothing.
It’s not just the desk chair either. If the toy is hidden in any of the bathrooms, behind a door, near the washer/dryer, the list goes on… he does the same thing every single time. He spots it. He stares for a couple seconds. He backs up, then resumes his search. I tried hiding treats with the toy, but of course that just led Emmett to the toy even faster and didn’t help encourage Lucas at all. I tried playing it with Lucas when John was out walking Emmett, and instead of continuing to look for the toy after spotting it in the scary location, he sat staring at it and crying, in essence asking me to get it for him. Which I didn’t. Because I’m mean.
My goal, of course, is to continue building Lucas’ confidence. Maybe this isn’t the right game? Or maybe I need to increase the stakes? I’d love to do an activity (indoors until it gets warmer) that will keep him moving, motivated, learning, and help build his confidence.
Any suggestions or insights?