Ways to Keep Your Dog Active Indoors
With winter coming and the cold days ahead here are some indoor activities that can help burn some energy and keep your dogs happy.
Experiment With Inside Games
There are lots of games that can be played inside the key is to vary the games you play. The other thing I suggest is regularly rotating toys to keep your dog interested. Tug can be an excellent game for teaching self-control and releasing energy, when played with the proper rules. Fetch can be done inside using tennis balls or soft toys. Increase the fetch challenge by tossing the toy up stairs or down hallways with carpeting or runners to prevent slipping. For dogs that like to chase, attach a stuffed animal or tennis ball to the end of a rope to simulate a predatory chase. More rambunctious or large dogs can be exercised safely in open areas, such as a large basement or a garage with the car pulled out.
Dogs are scavengers by nature, meaning they are programmed to spend most of their waking hours in search of food. Use this to your advantage by getting your dog “hunting” for his meals. Exercise your dog by tossing his meals piece by piece across the room and telling him to “find it.” This way he can chase after it and hunt it out with his nose. Instead of a food bowl try feeding your dog kibble out of a food puzzles. There are many different food puzzles on the market some easy and some hard. For a longer challenge, stuff hollow toys, like Kongs, with canned dog food and freeze. There are also numerous chew toys on the market, which also help with boredom and are food oriented. Things like rawhides, antlers, bones, cow hooves and buffalo horns. Like all toys monitor you dog to prevent them from “biting off more than they can chew”.
Carve Out Some Quality Time
Rather than cooping up your dog all winter, take them with you during the week on outings. An outing with your canine can be as easy as taking him to a dog-friendly pet store or pooch-friendly coffee shops that welcome dogs with treats. Drop by your veterinary office for a happy visit and have the receptionist give your dog a treat. If you can’t get enough exercise your dog consider having a dog walker come. Most dogs can comfortably be walked outside for short periods when the right precautions are made, doggie jackets, booties or wiping paws off after walks.
Schedule Play Dates
Dog-friendly canines benefit from play dates even in the dead of winter. Arranging play dates with your friends and their dogs. Even your backyard can become a dog park with the benefit of a warm house to come into after playtime. Doggy daycare’s are another way to give your dog playtime while you’re away from home or when you just need a break. Daycare is a great way for dogs to burn off a little of that cabin fever energy in a safe way.
Create an Indoor Agility Course
Even if you never plan on doing agility in a professional setting agility can be fun for the dogs. You do not need to buy or make equipment instead you can create obstacles for your dog out of every day objects. Use can use chairs as weave poles for your dog to navigate around. Chairs lined up with a blanket over the top can create a makeshift tunnel for your dog to run under. A broomstick fixed over a couple of buckets or chairs or even a hula hoop held in your hands can serve as a jump. Teach your dog to propel through obstacles using a hand target and reward with plenty of praise and treats. Take short breaks between obstacles to do obedience work, such as sits, downs, comes and more. The obedience work will keep your dog listening to you and makes obedience fun.
Muffin Tin Game
Do you know the muffin man? An innovative game known as the “muffin tin game” is both fun and unique. You’ll need a muffin tin, some tennis balls, and some treats. Show your dog the treats and put a few in the muffin tin. You can allow the dog to eat a few just so they know they are in there. Next fill the pan with treats and then put tennis balls over the treats and let them go at it. Once they’ve realized that there are treats under the tennis balls there are a couple of ways this can go. Either the dog will knock each tennis ball off one by one like a good puppy, or your energetic friends will go crazy and throw the tin around, making a mess with both treats and tennis balls. Even if they make a mess they will spend some time cleaning up the treats and hunting for them. Eventually you can begin not putting treats under each tennis ball, then the dog has to really use their nose to find the treats.