Snaggle Foot | December 2021
When it’s too cold to exercise your dog for long periods of time outside, you may find yourself wondering how to keep your dog active physically and mentally. Depending on your dog’s age, size, and overall health, it is recommended by most veterinarians that they get between 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day. We know how overwhelming it can feel when you’re stuck inside with a dog who has way more energy than you know what to do with!
Whether you have a dog that is hyper-active, or just needs some extra exercise during the winter months, there are plenty of indoor dog activities you can do with your dog. Here are some great ways to keep your dog busy this winter.
1. Puzzle Games
Idle paws can lead to very destructive and naughty behavior. Puzzles are a great way to keep any mischievous dog safely entertained. There are a variety of puzzles available to either purchase or make yourself. You can actually turn meal-time into game-time by feeding your dog their entire meal via a food puzzle like this "snuffle mat," otherwise known as a "dog treat rug."
2. Hide n' Seek
Teach your dog to use their nose! This indoor game is great for dogs who already know the "stay" or "sit-stay" command. Hide toys throughout the house and have them “seek” by letting them smell around until they find where the toy was hidden. Then reward them with a treat. You can also take the game up a notch by hiding yourself! Hide somewhere in your house and call out for your dog. Once they find you and get into a sit position, give them a treat and go hide again. This is a fun activity for kids to practice training commands... and it will keep them active too.
3. Indoor Fetch
If it's too cold, icy, or wet to play fetch outside, no problem! You can play indoor fetch with your dog by using a soft ball, toy, or even a sock. Toss the object across the room and have your dog race over to bring it back to you. As your dog gets better at this game, increase the distance between you and your dog. This is a great way to tire out your dog without having to leave the comfort of your home. Just remember, this is only a light game of fetch, so you shouldn't be breaking any lamps while you play.
4. Trick Training
One of the best (and most fun) activities to keep your dog active mentally is by teaching them tricks. Start with easy obedience tricks like sit, stay, speak, and lay down. Any dog can learn these commands. As your dog becomes more skilled, you can move on to more challenging commands like roll over and crawl. You can get really creative with this activity too! Have your dog do "play dead" after they've already learned how to lay down. Or teach them "shake hands" by having them give you their paw. With dog trick training, there are no limits!
5. Indoor Agility Course
If your dog is an agility dog breed or just highly energetic, then an indoor agility course might be one of the best ways to keep them busy this winter. You can either set up your own agility course in your garage (or another open space that is heated) with dog agility equipment, or you can take your dog to an indoor agility arena. These arenas are often filled with obstacles like tunnels, ramps, and A-frames that will keep your dog entertained and challenged for hours. If you're feeling really ambitious, you can even sign up for an agility class together. Agility training is a great way to keep your dog's mind and body active year-round.
So, this winter, don’t let the cold weather stop you and your dog from having fun. There are plenty of activities you can do together indoors that will keep both of you entertained and active. From puzzle games to hide n’ seek to indoor fetch, there is something for everyone. Get creative and have some fun!