On days when it’s too cold or rainy or snowy to spend time outside with your dog, you may find him staring at you, whining, or pacing the floor. Dogs still need to stimulated mentally and physically. On days when it isn’t possible to go on a hike or a long walk without coming home soaked or frozen to your bones, you’ll need to provide him with other things to do that he can do inside and be content.
Here are 7 tips to keeping Max happy:
1: Toys that dispense treats or food – Kongs can be stuffed with treats and dry kibble and coated with a layer of peanut butter to give them something to do for a few minutes but if your dog needs something more complicated, there are many other food dispensing toys on the market now. Busy Buddy, Aikiou, and Tug A Jug have several types of toys where your dog has to roll, shake, and tug on the toy to get a reward.
2: Hide and Seek – instead of feeding your dog his meal in his bowl, try hiding small piles of food around the room. He’ll have to use his nose and find the food. Initially, make it fairly easy for him by making a small trail to a pile and praise him as he finds them.
3: Fetch – if you have the space, playing fetch inside can be fun. Make sure the toy you use is soft and the space you’re in doesn’t have anything that could be damaged, like a flat screen tv or expensive chair in case Max crashes into it or you get overzealous and throw the toy too hard. There are soft frisbees that you can buy or use a stuffed toy.
4: Training session – when is the last time you ran Max through his commands? You can spend a few minutes asking him to sit, lay down, shake paw, stand, and any tricks he knows. On days when the weather is bad, make it fun by trying to teach him a new trick like wave, rollover, or something really complex like bringing you your keys or the remote control!
5: Social Outing – if the dog park is soaked why not take a ride to the pet store? All the smells, toys, and other people can stimulate his brain and remind him of his manners. You can walk the aisles with him, he’ll get pets from strangers, and if he’s a good boy he might get a new toy or a treat!
6: Play Tag – If your dog likes to chase you, try a low key game of chase or tag in the house. Run around a table, through a few rooms, and up and down the stairs with Max following you. Then turn and jog after him. If he’s really excited, you may get him to run laps around the dining room table and not have to do much at all!
7: Doggie Play Date – Ask one of your fellow dog owners if they want to have a play date. Puppy proof the house so no furry friends get into trouble and let them romp around the living room while you have coffee and chat!