As the mercury drops and the snow falls, you may be looking for creative ways to keep you and your dog from getting bored inside of your home. Since taking your dog for a walk in wet weather can be uncomfortable, here are a few indoor alternatives to spend some quality time with your pup.
Play Tug of War
Playing tug of war with your dog provides them with great mental and physical exercise. It is a healthy way to bring out their predatory instincts. Plus, most dogs simply love to play it! However, there are a few things to keep in mind before doing so.
To begin, select a dog toy that is specific for tugging, and won’t be used for other games such as fetch. Play in an area that has plenty of space, without dangerous objects or clutter you might trip over. Remember that you start the game and you control the rules.
When you begin to play, your dog may begin growling with excitement. Although this is normal, it is important to take breaks to ensure that your dog won’t become overly aggressive and get out of control.
Your dog’s nose was designed to go hunting for nature’s treasures. Getting your dog to use his nose to find hidden treats is a great way to stimulate his senses and stave off boredom. In the beginning, you will need to show him how the game works so he understands and won’t get discouraged.
Start by having your dog sit and stay, and then hide a treat somewhere where he can easily find it. Let him watch you hide it this time. Next, give him the command to go and get it. When he finds the “hidden” treat, give him plenty of love and praise. Now that your dog understands how the game works, try making it a little more difficult. Hide a treat in another room, or somewhere where the scent might be masked by something else.
Create an Obstacle Course
Grab your treats and rev up your imagination to create a fun and interesting obstacle course for your pet. Here are a few ideas.
1. Create a tunnel by lining up several dining room chairs with their backs facing each other, with space left in between, and lay a blanket over the top of the chairs.
2. Use a household footstool for your canine to jump over if they are a large breed, and jump up on if they are small.
3. Teach your pup to crawl on his belly by utilizing a low coffee table for example, for them to crawl underneath.
4. Carpeted stairs are the perfect ready-made obstacle. Having your dog run the stairs several times will really get his blood flowing.
If you have a treadmill, why not take advantage of it as a way to help keep your dog in shape when it is too cold to head outdoors for a walk? Before doing so, make sure that your dog is comfortable with the sight and sound of a running treadmill.
After he is at ease, place him on the treadmill and give him a treat. Now, turn on the treadmill, keeping it on the lowest speed. You can use your dog’s leash to guide him, but never tie him to the treadmill with it. To keep him going, stand in front of the treadmill and occasionally reward him with treats.
Let’s face it, sometimes you are simply too busy around the house to play with or entertain your dog. Food puzzles for dogs are perfect for times like these. They give dogs an opportunity to work for their food. Food puzzles are usually made of hard rubber or plastic, that has holes where the dog can access the food stored inside. Dogs can spend time pawing, shaking, licking, or nibbling the toy, in an effort to get the food that is trapped within.
Cold winter days don’t have to mean boredom and lethargy! Learn to get creative with your playful pup and they are sure to appreciate the effort.