When the weather is so bad that taking your dog outside for playtime is too challenging, they still need to burn off energy and relieve boredom. Indoor games are a good idea to keep both their body and their head entertained during winter. Your dog needs to do more than sit around the house or sleep the bad weather away, the same way you do. Here are 5 fun indoor games you can play with your dog.
In small spaces where active games are not possible, you can still play tug games with your dog. Get a couple sturdy tug toys in a size that’s appropriate for your particular dog. Tug toys are good for indoor play because they are small enough to throw across the room to fetch and retrieve, and do not bounce and hit things the way balls can.
For an inexpensive version of a tug toy, tear an old T-shirt into strips. Tie the strips together to create a multi-tentacle octopus type toy that is easy for both you and your dog to grab. They are lightweight, easy to throw and easy to wash.
Hide and Seek
Whether you are hiding a treat, a favorite toy, or hiding in another area of the house yourself, dogs enjoy the fun of the hunt. Start with something simple by hiding a toy or treat under a blanket, sheet or pillows, and see how long it takes your dog to find it. Make it more of a challenge by altering the hiding place or wrapping the object in layers.
If you are hiding yourself, or have multiple human family members that can play, make it a hunt for each person that hides. If your dog follows you so you can’t hide, the advantage of having at least one other player is that someone can hold your dog while you go hide, and then give the command to find you once you are hidden.
Even if you don’t have a large house, you can still create an obstacle course for your dog. Try using items from around your home to build a simple but challenging course that will provide plenty of doggy entertainment. For example, pillows, sturdy chairs and boxes are easy to use and clean up after play time. Use a few Canidae Treats to motivate your dog to jump over objects or maneuver around or under barriers. An obstacle course is a great way to get your dog up and moving around, even in a small space. Be creative and vary the course to keep it interesting for your dog.
If you are trying to train your dog to obey commands, take advantage of the restrictions of indoor space to practice some of the basic commands such as Sit, Come, Shake or Roll Over. If you make it a game instead of a task, your dog may take to it better and will learn commands quicker. Patience, praise and rewards work wonders when you are teaching new skills to your dog or trying to reinforce the ones they have already learned. You can also use training cues in any of the indoor games to help reinforce their learning.
There is a large selection of puzzle type toys available that will challenge your dog as he works to retrieve the treat hidden inside. Some require rolling and active movement in order for the dog to get the treat out of the toy. Others are for more stationary play. The lure of the hidden treat will entice your dog to spend time trying to retrieve the treasure, which takes concentration and focus. It keeps the dog entertained and offers a tasty reward at the end for accomplishing the task.
Keeping your dog active and entertained when they’re stuck inside is not just good for physical exercise and stimulating their brain. It is also a great way for you to bond with your canine companion. Your dog loves spending time with you. Indoor games can make your time together healthy, fun, educational and bonding.
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch