Whether it’s the freezing cold winters or sweltering summers, the Northern Virginia weather can sometimes mean our pups are cooped up inside. Try out some of these fun activities to keep the cabin fever and boredom at bay!
1. Teach A New Trick
You’re never too old! Start with some cues your dog already knows, and then start working on a new cue. Click here to get more info about learning theory in dogs and how to teach your dog positively!
2. Indoor Digging
Does your dog love digging? Bring the dig indoors without the mess! For a quick and easy dig, pile up some towels or blankets, hide toys and treats inside, and let them go to town! If you want an upgrade, buy a plastic kiddie pool and fill it with colorful plastic balls. And if you really want to spoil your dog, check out to iDig toy!
3. Hide & Seek
Put your dog’s detective hat on for this game! Sprinkle small, smelly treats around your house for them to sniff out. Don’t put treats anywhere you don’t want your dog nosing around!
4. Treat Puzzles
The only thing better than a new toy, is a new toy that delivers a treat! Treat puzzles keep your dog mentally stimulated while rewarding them for using their brain. There are so many fun puzzles out there, from simple stuffed Kongs to more challenging puzzles. Need to make a quick treat puzzle at home? There are lots of DIY versions as well!
5. Flirt Pole
A flirt pole is essentially a fishing pole for your dog. You can create one at home or buy one. All you really need is a sturdy stick or pole, some string, and one of your pups favorite toys!
6. Make Your Own Obstacle Course
An in-home obstacle course is a fun way for you and your dog to play inside! Whether you build jumps out of couch cushions or buy your own agility equipment like tunnels and weave poles, working with your dog to get through the obstacles will strengthen your bond and build their confidence! Click here for some inspiration for your own DIY obstacle course.
You can’t beat the tried-and-true game of tug-of-war! Dogs love this game because it gives them an outlet for that natural instinct to grab and shake. This game is also the perfect opportunity to work on cues like “give” or “drop it”!
8. Relaxation Protocol
Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol – more casually referred to as “mat training” – is a great tool for teaching your dog to calm down. It’s a simple game that teaches them to stay lying down on the mat for longer and longer periods of time. All you need to get started is a new towel or blanket and some yummy treats!
9. Cardboard Boxes
Who didn’t love playing with big cardboard boxes as a kid? Well, our dogs love them, too! Cardboard boxes can be turned into busy boxes, or used to try ‘free shaping’ with your dog, a training technique that encourages dogs to make their own decisions and increase their mental and physical flexibility. Click here to learn more about free shaping with a cardboard box!
10. Go Shopping
You’d be surprised at how many stores, breweries, and other establishments in the U.S. are dog-friendly! Taking your well-behaved pup out to a new indoor location can be a great way for them to get in some good sniffing and socializing! Of course, we encourage you to visit local dog-friendly businesses like Dogma Bakery, Barkhaus, and more! Always make sure to call ahead to make sure a business is dog-friendly before showing up.
We hope you and your dog enjoy trying these indoor activities! For more enrichment ideas, visit our friends over at Fear Free Happy Homes.