Dealing with winter weather can be extra challenging if you have an active dog who loves to play outside. Your dog might get bored being inside all day.
Fetch by MD says, “One reason dogs develop behavior problems is sheer boredom, resulting from a lack of physical exercise, problem solving and outdoor exploration and investigation.”
But you can keep your dog from getting bored, even in the middle of winter. Keep reading to learn how to keep your dog entertained indoors.
Conduct Training Sessions
For some dogs, mental exercise can be even more exhausting than physical activity. With less time spent outside, you can get in a few extra training sessions during the dreary winter months. This will keep your dog’s obedience skills up to snuff.
You can review the basics, like down and sit, but don’t stop there. Try teaching your dog a few new commands, like shake hands and rollover. Learning fun tricks will keep you and your canine entertained.
Play Hide and Seek
Did you love playing hide and seek as a kid? Why not teach your dog how to play? Although your dog’s version of the game will be a little bit different than yours.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Throw some treats on the floor and give the “go find it!” command.
- Repeat this, but start throwing the treats into boxes, closets, and other places around your home while your dog is still watching.
- Once you’ve done the previous step a few times, hide the treats while your dog is in a closed room.
- Then tell your dog to “go find it!” Your dog will have a blast running around the house to find tasty treats.
And if you are concerned about your dog eating too many treats, you can always swap out the treats for your dog’s favorite toy or tennis ball.
Remember, the American Kennel Club says, “treats should not make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s total diet, and that diet includes treats and snacks.”
Set Up an Indoor Agility Course
If your dog loves agility and you have extra space in your home, set up an indoor course. This will definitely keep your dog busy and out of mischief.
You can find agility equipment that is easy to store and set up in your home. But if you don’t want to spend money, just make a course out of chairs, tables, and cushions. Either way, your dog will have a great time.
Introduce Your Dog to the Shell Game
Here is another game that is sure to be a hit. You will need three cups and some treats. You could also use a toy instead of the treats.
This is how to play:
- Place a treat or toy under one cup. Make sure your dog is watching.
- Shuffle all three cups.
- Allow your dog to find the treat or toy.
This game will engage your dog’s brain and provide a reward for a job well done.
Invite Your Pup’s Friends Over
Do your friends have dogs? Invite them over. But only if you are sure the dogs get along with each other and have been properly socialized.
Give Your Dog a Kong
If you are headed out for the day but need to keep your dog busy, give your four-legged friend a Kong. Stuffing a delicious (and canine safe!) goodie into the Kong, and then allowing your dog to try and get the food out will keep your pet occupied for quite some time.
There are many different foods that can be stuffed into a Kong. Here are just a few ideas:
- Peanut butter
- Canned pumpkin
- Cottage cheese
- Ground meat
After filling the Kong with the treat, place it in the freezer and keep it there overnight. It will be frozen and ready for your pup by morning.
Blow Bubbles for Your Dog
Keep a bottle of bubbles on hand for those dreary days when you can’t take Fido out for a walk. Your dog will love chasing bubbles around your home, so you should definitely keep this idea on your list of inside activities for dogs.
Play a Game of Indoor Fetch
Is there clear space in your home where your dog could safely play a game of fetch? This is a great indoor game to play when bad weather keeps you trapped inside. Just make sure there isn’t any furniture or other objects that could get in your dog’s way and cause an injury.
Buy a Dog Puzzle
Dog games and puzzles are a perfect way to entertain your pet on a cold winter day. You can buy treat dispensers or problem-solving games. These products will stimulate your pet’s mind so that your dog is too tired to get into any trouble.
Start with easy puzzles. As your dog solves those simpler challenges, look for puzzles that are more difficult. This gradual progression will prevent your dog from losing heart and giving up.
Teach Your Dog How to Clean Up
Buy a container for storing your dog’s toys, then teach your pup how to put them all away.
Here’s how to train your dog to clean up:
- First, you must teach your dog to obey the “drop it” command.
- Once your dog has mastered that, bring your canine over to the container.
- Make sure your dog’s head is positioned right over the container.
- Once your dog is in place, give the “drop it” command.
- Praise your dog for dropping the toy into the container.
- Keep repeating this until your dog is a pro.
Get Your Dog’s Help with Basic Tasks
We all need a purpose in life, and that includes your dog. Make the rough winter days pass by more quickly by teaching your dog how to retrieve items around your home or assisting with basic chores. This will be fun for your dog and will give the two of you more time to spend together.
Groom Your Dog
Grooming your dog gives you the chance to shower your furry friend with attention. And what dog doesn’t want that?
Plus, your dog probably needs to be groomed anyways. A good time to get caught up on this task is when you are stuck inside and looking for something to do.
As you can see, there are plenty of inside activities for dogs. If winter weather is keeping you trapped inside right now, keep your dog from getting bored by trying out a few of the ideas listed in this article.
They will cure your dog’s boredom, which will prevent your four-legged friend from getting into trouble.
5 WAYS TO ENTERTAIN YOUR DOG DURING COLD WEATHER. (n.d.). From Dogtopia: https://www.dogtopia.com/blog/5-ways-to-entertain-your-dog-during-cold-weather/
Arnold, B. (2019, November 22). Exercise Your Dog Indoors with these 5 Bad Weather Boredom Busters. From The Dogington Post: https://www.dogingtonpost.com/exercise-your-dog-indoors-bad-weather-boredom/
ASPCA. (n.d.). How to Stuff a Kong Toy. From Fetch by WebMD : https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/how-to-stuff-a-kong#1
Burke, A. (2018, January 11). How Many Treats Can Your Dog Really Have? From American Kennel Club: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/how-many-treats-can-dog-have/
Gabbard, J. (2018, August 10). 10 Ways To Exercise Your Dog On a Rainy Day. From Puppy Leaks: https://www.puppyleaks.com/rainy-day/
HOW TO KEEP YOUR DOG ENTERTAINED INDOORS. (2019, March 30). From Pack: https://www.packleashes.com/blogs/news/how-to-keep-your-dog-entertained-in-bad-weather
Kristina Tyler is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in pet care topics. With her life-long love of animals and passion for learning, she thoroughly enjoys researching and writing about how to care for pets. In her spare time, she teaches Sunday School classes, creates hand drawn pictures of animals, and devours the latest books by her favorite authors. She lives in California with her adorable kitty named Chloe and attends classes at the local community college.