Help! The dog is stuck in the house – again – because of cold weather and he’s driving me nuts. He gets bored, makes a mess, and then I get blamed. What are some indoor activities he can do that will keep me out of the dog house?
Ray the Cat
Don’t let bad weather and a waggish hound spoil your day. Grab the dog – and your human – and beat the winter blues with these boredom busters – guaranteed to exercise the body and mind in the comfort of your own home.
Tug of War: Minute for minute, this is one of the most intense forms of exercise for dogs. It burns lots of energy, strengthens self-control and teaches them to listen even when they’re amped. The good news? You don’t need a ton of room to play. Just remember to follow the rules and have plenty of space between your dog and that breakable lamp on the table.
Name Game: Dogs love having a job to do, even if it’s something as simple as fetching a newspaper. Teach him the names of some items you want him to fetch and reward him with a treat when he brings it back. Piece of cake, right? Remember, dogs learn the same way as humans, by repetition – so practice, practice, practice!
Hide and Snack: This is one of my all-time favorites, because treats! Have your dog sit while you set up a trail of treats around the house. Choose easy-to-find spots at first, but as he catches on, make the hiding places more challenging. When you are ready, say, “Find it!” and let his schnozz sniff out the goodies.
Indoor Parkour: Get his move on by setting up an indoor obstacle course made of pillows, boxes, broomsticks, and blankets. Have your dog jump, crawl, and move around furniture and objects for an exciting activity. Playtime is all about togetherness, so use this time to strengthen your bond and leave your pup feeling happy and exhausted.
Come When Called: Reinforce his recall by practicing this. Call your dog to come, put him in sit/stay, and then move away. After a minute or so, call him to come again, and repeat. Try to move further away and boost the wait time before calling him to you. This game is great for practicing patience and teaching him to wait for your commands.
Find it: Same as hide and snack, but without the treats. Show your dog a favorite toy. Lead him to another room or have him sit while you hide it from his view. Make the hiding place obvious at first. Then tell him to find it. You might have to help him at first. When he finds the toy, reward him with a treat and praise. Hide the toy in more challenging places as the game continues. This game is so much fun you won’t even need treats after a couple of rounds.