Although playing in the snow can be a blast, sometimes harsh winter weather and short days make it difficult to take your dog outside as much as you’d like. Luckily, with a little creativity you can turn the inside of your house into a puppy playground.
Use Stairs To Burn Off Energy
Climbing hills is a great way to exercise your dog, and stairs can serve as the next best thing. Simply toss a toy up and down the stairs, or, if you need a workout, climb them yourself and call your dog up after you. This activity is only for healthy, grown-up pooches, though, as the impact can damage puppies’ joints.
Teach Over, Under, and Through
Directional commands get your dog moving and thinking at the same time. Use your furniture and other household objects to teach your dog to climb or jump over small items, crawl under tables or chairs and wait there, and crawl all the way through tunnels or boxes. This may come in handy during summer hikes or while doing sports, such as agility.
Hide Your Dog’s Food
Make your dog work for her dinner or treats. Hide small piles of food or treats throughout your house and let your dog figure out where they are. Or use this opportunity to teach fun tricks, such as shaking hands or rolling over. Mental stimulation can tire dogs out almost as much as physical exercise.
Bring Those Tennis Balls Inside
Just because you’re stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t play fetch. Team up with a friend or family member to play keep away with your dog, or pick a long hallway to toss the ball down.
Treadmills Aren’t Just for People Anymore
If you have a treadmill for your own exercise, consider teaching your dog to use it too. Use treats and make it a fun experience, and remember to stay safe–never tie your dog to the treadmill and always supervise closely. If your area tends to have a lot of harsh weather, consider investing in a treadmill designed for dogs.
Tug of War Is a Great Workout
Most dogs love to play tug, and it can be ideal for indoor spaces since it generally doesn’t require much room. Just make sure to play safely. You should always be the one to start the game, and your dog should know how to drop the toy on command in case things get too exciting.
Create a Homemade Obstacle Course
Remember those “over, under and through” commands mentioned above? Put them to use by creating your own homemade obstacle course using everyday household items. Have your dog jump over laundry baskets, weave through end tables, crawl through boxes, and more.
Play a Game of Hide-and-Seek
Hide-and-seek combines chasing, searching and impulse control for a fun and educational experience. Put your dog in a stay or have someone hold her, then run and hide a favorite toy or treat. Let her go and watch her sniff it out. You can also practice your dog’s recall command by hiding and then calling her. Be sure to give her a big reward when she finds you!
And When You’re Done, Have Your Dog Help Clean Up
All these games can create quite a mess, so teach your dog to pick up her own toys and put them away. Start out with short distances and simply tell your dog to drop the toy in a box or basket, then gradually work your way up to more toys and longer distance. For an added challenge, teach your dog the name of her toys and ask her to pick them up individually.
Being stuck indoors may seem like a drag at first, but if you think outside the box, you can come up with plenty of fun ways to exercise and bond with your dog. And if you do have to venture outdoors, keep your feet dry and comfy with these Paws and Hearts Rain Boots!
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