Indoor games are a great way of entertaining your dog when the weather is bleak. Pet food experts at Canagan have shared some fun indoor games you can play together in between your pet’s usual walks.
Whatever the weather, it is important that your dog receives daily exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. But, just like humans, dogs can feel the bitter cold and will sometimes be a bit reluctant to being outdoors when they don’t have to. So, why not create a fun indoor environment for them to burn some energy?
A productive way to entertain your dog is to teach them new tricks – providing your goals are achievable and you don’t overload them with too much at once. Train them to bark on command, shake hands, retrieve items or roll over – the list is endless! If you have days off over the Christmas season, there’s no better time to test their intelligence with a few new skills.
Speaking of Christmas, why not treat your pup to a brand-new toy? There are plenty of indoor activities for dogs which involve toys to keep them entertained for hours. Dog puzzles will allow your dog to figure out where a tasty treat is hidden by manoeuvring different levers which will reveal the delicacy. This game teaches your dog resilience and patience. Use it as a form of positive reinforcement to teach them that good behaviour is rewarded. Many dogs will also benefit from a game of tug with you, it’s a common misconception that this will make dogs aggressive – but, actually, it’s very rewarding for your dog, will strengthen your bond, and is a fun cooperative game.
Tell your dog to ‘stay’ so they don’t follow you to your hiding place. If this command is a work in progress, wait until they’re distracted then have your family members hide around the house. Choose somewhere that is not out of sight initially, so they can easily find you, then choose harder spots. This will boost their confidence and stretch their instincts with each ‘round’. Take it in turns to call them. Each family member, when found, must congratulate your furry friend and show them lots of love.
Bubbles are a fun, inexpensive way to entertain your pup – and children too! Always check the label before you buy bubbles to ensure they’re safe for dogs. Did you know you can even buy ‘dog bubbles’ in different flavours? There are even dog-friendly bubble machines available to give owners a breather!
Making changes to your home
Ensuring your home is dog-friendly is important when creating an environment for play and exercise with minimal chance of harm or breakages. From here, you can introduce a couple of new sights and experiences to combat boredom, like the following:
Give them a view
Dogs have impeccable senses and love exploring the outside world with its diverse sights and smells. If the wintry weather isn’t optimum for a walk, create a snuggly space by the window so your pup can watch the world go by. Whether it’s birds flying by, cars passing or people (maybe even with other dogs), they can keep entertained with activity outside.
Build a doggie den
Dogs love to snuggle down in a cosy space. Whether it’s blankets piled with their favourite toys or renovating your spare bedroom into their very own pet pad, your dog will be very grateful of their own little sanctuary to retreat to.
Getting out and about
Just because the weather’s seen better days, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in the house 24/7. There are plenty of indoor spaces with activities for dogs so you can both enjoy a change of scenery and interact with others. Try to arrange a coffee morning in a dog-friendly café or take them down to the pub for a Sunday roast. Plenty of venues welcome dogs, but it’s always worth checking first. They tend to offer a water bowl and, if you’re pup is lucky, treats!
Ensuring your dog is comfortable, entertained and of course safe over the winter months may feel like a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity – to bond, meet new dogs and explore new places. You never know, you might find new hobbies to try in summer too!