When the weather outside is frightful, your dog is bound to get antsy! When you're trapped inside because it's cold, wet, rainy or snowy, try out some of these fun indoor activities to help your four-legged friend get some mental and physical stimulation.
1 - Gather some treats, show them to your dog, and have a human helper hold your pooch back while you hide them throughout a room with her watching. Allow your helper to release your dog and then laugh as your dog expends excess energy running around the room, sniffing for treats. Help your dog if she needs it so that she has fun with the game.
2 - Purchase a treat-dispensing toy like a Kong Wobbler or a Premier Tug-a-Jug. Instead of placing your dog's meal in a bowl, fill the treat toy with kibble. Place the toy on the floor and show your pup how it works. Supervise your pup until you're certain she can safely play with the toy, and then allow her to wear herself out earning her meal bit by bit.
3 - Place your dog's meal in a bowl, but don't hand it to her. Instead, practice learning new behaviors and tricks. If your dog already knows a few tricks and some obedience, practice those behaviors, too. This is an excellent time to review and have fun with it! Use your dog's meal to reward her for her hard work.
1 - Play fetch to help your dog stretch her muscles without wearing yourself out. While at home, play fetch in a long hallway or on the stairs. Stand at the top of the stairs and toss the ball down, then call your dog to you when she has the ball. This exercise will wear out even the most athletic dog.
2 - Grab a laser pointer from a pet supply store or from an office store and use it to work your dog into a prey-driven frenzy. While laser pointers are normally thought of as a cat toy, many dogs go nuts for them. Simply shine the laser pointer on the ground and let the fun begin. Make sure you have enough space for your pooch to play safely.
3 - Blow bubbles for your pup. Pet supply stores often carry pet-friendly, cheese- or beef-flavored bubbles. Much like a laser pointer, many dogs love chasing and trying to eat the bubbles. Not only is it great exercise for your pup, it's quite humorous for you, too!
4 - Play tug-o-war with your dog. Not only does this game exercise muscles she rarely uses, it helps you both to bond and enjoy time together. Before playing tug, make sure you can get your dog to drop the toy on command or that you can safely reclaim the toy.
Play Indoors Elsewhere
1 - Go to a dog training facility and take an agility or rally class if you both need to get out of the house for a while. Both canine sports are a lot of fun and will provide physical and mental exercise. Listen to your instructor and have your vet check for physical health and soundness before beginning class.
2 - Go on an outing to a pet store or other pet-friendly store such as Tractor Supply or Home Depot. Walk through the aisles and allow your pup to sniff toys, socialize with the other dogs and meet new people. Outings are also an excellent time to practice and perfect obedience commands and tricks.
3 - Schedule a play date with another friendly dog on their home turf. A basement or large garage would be an ideal place for a couple or more friendly, well-mannered, similarly sized dogs to romp, wrestle and roll for a couple hours. Not only will your pup come home thoroughly exhausted, it's a great chance for you to get out and socialize, as well!
By Kea Grace
About the Author
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.