With temperatures reaching the negative double digits, we’ve got to find indoor activities to keep our dogs active when it’s too cold to be outside for more than a potty break. So here’s our top 5 indoor games to play with your dog!
Hide and Seek
This is a great game to play while also practicing your dog’s recall! You can play this game with just you and your dog, or another person or two. Fill your pockets with some tasty treats. Have your dog sit and stay - if you have more than one human playing, one of you can stay with your dog. Go and find a hiding place. Make sure you start somewhere that isn’t too hard for your dog to find - hiding in another room is a good place to begin! Once you’ve hidden, call your dog. It’s a good idea to only use their name once, and then use your most excited voice and a command such as “let’s go!” Once your dog finds you, have them sit and reward them with a treat. Once the other person has hidden, they can repeat the same process. This is great practice for your dog’s recall as well as a way for them to burn some steam running around the house.
This game works on your dog’s nose! Take some of your pup’s treats, and hide them around the house. Once they’re hidden, let your dog go and find them! You can also hide their snacks in a cardboard box with some packing paper, or rolled up in a towel.
Teach Them a New Trick
When the weather dips colder, it can be a great time to learn a new trick! Maybe you’ve always wanted to teach your dog how to wave, or speak. A really helpful trick is to teach them a chin rest - this can be used down the road for cooperative care. Cooperative care is allowing your dog to tell you when they are comfortable proceeding with a certain task like having eye or ear medications instilled, or their nails trimmed. A new trick is a great idea if you’re looking at multiple cold days on the forecast, as you will need to repeat the training over a number of days for your pup to be confident in the new trick.
Set Up An Obstacle Course
This can be an amazing confidence building exercise, as well as burning that extra energy! You can use various household items to create obstacles for your pup to crawl under and through, and to jump off of or even over. If these are new activities for your dog, remember that they will need to start slowly and keep the treats flowing! Start with individual obstacles, and once your dog has the hang of these combine them together for an entire course! Lure your pup through the course with a treat in a closed fist or their favourite toy.
Get Them to Help with the Chores
If your dog already knows the “drop it” command, this last idea isn’t too big of a leap! If not, start by teaching them drop it first by giving them a low-value toy. After they’ve played with it for a few minutes, offer them a high-value treat. Once they drop the toy for the treat, immediately mark the behaviour with a clicker or a “yes!’ and the verbal command “drop it.” Once your dog is comfortable with drop it, have them take a toy from you. Place a toy basket or bucket under your dog and say “drop it” once they have the toy over the container. Immediately give them a treat jackpot (aka lots and lots of treats and praise!) and repeat the process. With time, they’ll be able to clean up their own toys!
We hope these 5 games will help keep training fun, and you and your pup cozy this winter!
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay curious #healthygang!
Lots of love,
-The healthybud team