The weather outside is frightful… but my dog is going crazy!
When you can’t get outside with your pooch, here are some ideas for great indoor games that will give your dog some mental and physical exercise. Feel free to involve your kids as well if they are big enough!
Play Hide and Seek
Give each family member a handful of treats and have them take turns hiding somewhere in the home. The hiding person calls the dog to them and then rewards them with treats. When the treats are gone, tell your dog “all done!”, and then go hide again. Repeat ad nauseum!
Tug and Fetch
Playing tug and fetch are great physical games that can be played anywhere! A long hallway or stairs can add extra exercise to a game of fetch for a young and healthy dog.
This game involves sniffing and eating, two of your dog’s favorite things! You can use your dog’s regular meal or some low calorie treats for this game. Show your dog a treat or piece of kibble; say “find it!” then toss the morsel onto the floor. If your dog doesn’t quite get the point, start by dropping the food right in front of her, and gradually toss the food farther and farther away.
You can make it even more difficult for good sniffers by asking your dog to “stay” while you hide the food somewhere, then release them to go find it!
The Muffin Tin Game
I love this game for its simplicity and mental enrichment!
Place a treat (or piece of kibble) in each cup of a muffin tin, and place a tennis ball on top of the treats in about half of the cups (not all of them). Put the muffin tin on the floor for your dog. Once they find all the uncovered treats, it won’t take them long to figure out that they can find more treats by knocking out the tennis balls!
Training Manners and Having Fun
Using your stuck-indoors time to reinforce your dog’s obedience training can be an excellent way to exercise his brain and tire him out!
You can test and treat your dog on the “Basic Five” – sit, stay, come, down, and heel.
Or, you can teach your dog some new tricks, like spin around, roll over, shake a paw, or close a cabinet. Let your imagination run wild, and have fun!
(By the way, there are some excellent training videos online to learn from… just make sure that you are only using positive rewards during your training so you and your dog are both having fun!)
Schedule A Doggie Playdate
Does your dog have a best friend? Invite them over for a playdate! This is a great way to wear your dog out.
Just make sure you clear some space of breakables… we all know how crazy dog play can get!
Stuff A Kong
Are you worn out from all this play, but your dog is still full of it? While you sit with your cuppa tea or coffee and a good book, give your pup a stuffed Kong to occupy his time!
You can stuff a durable Kong toy with peanut butter and kibble, or freeze it full of peanut butter or broth. I love this article from Puppy Leaks with some excellent Kong-stuffing ideas!
If you use these or any other ideas for your indoor play, I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment below with your favorite indoor games!