When the weather cooperates, a trip to the park is a great way for your dog to get some exercise and burn off all that excess energy. But the weather doesn’t always cooperate. When it’s rainy or chilly outside, your dog may still crave that exercise—not to mention some fun bonding time with his humans.
The good news is, there are plenty of games you can play indoors that will keep your dog engaged while also helping him get a little exercise and mental stimulation. Mental stimulation requiring focus and concentration can tire out a dog almost as much as physical activity. Here are a few things to try out the next time you’re stuck at home.
Training can become a fun game. Dogs love playing the recall game. You will need at least two people for this. Start off in one room. Load your pockets with some tasty treats and sit on the floor 10 feet or so away from each other. Take turns calling your dog to you. Use a high pitched jolly tone and say “Chuckles, come, come, come”. When he does come to you, reach for his collar and hold it, reach into your pocket and reward him with a treat. Now the next person does the same thing. Once your dog understands the game, increase the number of people playing and/or increase the distance. You can even have a person in one room and another person in a different room.
A rainy day could provide the perfect time to practice calling your dog to you – especially if your pet hasn’t yet mastered this skill. Coming when called is one of the most important commands you can teach your dog.
Teaching your dog a new trick is always fun and mentally challenging. Search the internet for dog tricks and decide which one you want your dog to learn. With a little practice, your dog will be showing off his new trick in no time!
Your kids will like this as much as your dog does. Again this game will need at least 2 people to play. Start off by having one person hold the dog and then have another person hide in plain sight so your dog can see him. Release your dog and say “Find (person’s name)! When the dog goes to the person hiding, have that person reach into his pocket and reward him with a treat. Once the dog understands the game, make it more difficult by adding people and/or making the hiding places more difficult.
If you’ve watched dog shows, you’re likely familiar with obstacle courses. Find an open space in your home, even if it requires moving some furniture aside, and set up an obstacle course for your dog. If you have kids, they’ll likely have fun putting this together. The goal is to set up obstacles that serve as tunnels and poles. You can use chairs, boxes, and other items to bring this outdoor activity inside. Use your imagination! Encourage your dog to run the course by luring him with a treat through all the obstacles.
No matter where you are, fetch is always a welcome game. Have soft objects you can throw inside like toys or tennis balls.
You can also keep your dog occupied, whether you’re home or not, by investing in chew toys, and bones. A stuffed Kong is always a sure bet when it comes to keeping your dog occupied. There are also toys on the market into which you can hide treats. The dog has to work to figure out how to get the treat out. This way the toy doubles as a challenging puzzle.
Speaking of hiding treats, a scavenger hunt can be a great way to entertain your dog. Have your dog wait in a closed room while you hide treats in various locations around the house. Then set him free and time how long it takes him to find all of them. Once he’s found the last one, reward him with plenty of praise.
Being stuck indoors gives you a great opportunity to spend time with Fido. With a little creativity, you can make it fun for your dog, as well as your entire family.
Whether you’re stuck inside or just killing time before you can go out again, fun and games with your favorite furry family member are always a great idea. Check out my blog for plenty of fun activities and training tips.