How to maximize indoor time with dogs
Although spring is in the air, for many of us, we’re still stuck indoors with our dogs. From rainy days, to bad weather, to illness or injury, there are many reasons it may be difficult to get your dog outside. If you’re working from home you may have also begun to realize just how much time your pooch spends sleeping during the day. Just because you and your dog are stuck indoors, doesn’t mean you have to sit around being bored. So how can you maximize all of this extra time you have with your dog while you’re indoors? Read on to find out!
10 things to do with your dog indoors
1. Hide and seek
Do you remember how much fun you used to have playing hide and seek with your friends? Well why not share that fun with your dog! There are two really easy ways to play hide and seek with your dog to help pass the time while you’re stuck indoors.
The first method involves playing hide and seek with humans. Have a helper hold your dog while you go find a place to hide. Then ask your helper to release your dog while you call their name. Once your dog finds you, immediately give them a treat and praise them. Eventually you won’t even need to call your dog when you play the game. You’ll be able to hide and your dog will use their nose to find you.
The second method is playing hide and seek with treats. Grab a couple of your dog’s favorite freeze-dried treats and let them sniff them. Start out slow and place the treats in really easy to find places while your dog watches and then release your dog to sniff out the treats. With practice, you’ll be able to put your dog in another room, hide the treats in difficult to find spots, and release your dog to spend the next 15 minutes sniffing out treats.
2. Puzzle feeders
Giving your dog a puzzle feeder or toy is another way to help your dog stay busy and maximize your indoor time together. Puzzle feeders vary in complexity but are generally used as a method to make dogs work to obtain the food or treats inside. There are various types of puzzle feeders available online or at your local pet store. If you don’t want to go out and purchase a puzzle feeder, you could even make one on your own using a muffin tin and some tennis balls. Take the muffin tin and place a few treats in each of the cups inside, and then place tennis balls on top. Your dog will be entertained, and have to use their brain, to try to figure out how to move the tennis balls to get to the treats underneath.
3. Obstacle course
Dog agility has become a very popular canine sport. It involves a dog running through a timed obstacle course with only their handler to direct them. Practicing agility doesn’t really require expensive agility equipment, however, you can set up a mini obstacle course in your own house! Here are some things to consider adding to your dog obstacle course:
Pop up play tunnel for kids which is similar to an agility tunnel
Hula hoop for your dog to jump through or to lay flat and be used for your dog to sit/down/perform a trick inside of.
Cones set up 24” apart to be used like weave poles
A rug or mat to be used as a pause table
Couches or chairs for your dog to hop up on
The important thing to remember when setting up an indoor obstacle course is to make it fun and challenging for your dog so they have to use their brain.
4. Teach your dog to dance
It may sound silly, but dancing with your dog is so much fun that the American Kennel Club has come up with a name for it: canine freestyle! Canine freestyle involves choreographing tricks to music and dancing along with your dog. Dancing with your dog doesn’t really have to be that complicated, though, and there are small easy ways to start teaching your dog to dance. One method involves training your dog to backup, and then training them to come to you when you call them. Another method involves using treats to get your dog to spin in a circle, or to weave in and out of your legs. These fun and silly ways to teach your dog to dance can really help pass the time and brighten up a rainy day with some fun dancing.
5. Tug of war
Tug of war doesn’t just have to be played outside, this is also a fun game to play with your dog while inside. Grab a tug toy and have fun! Just make sure to teach your dog to let go of the toy on command. A commonly used method to get your dog to release the toy is to offer your dog a trade. Give your dog a different toy or offer a high value treat as an exchange for the toy that they are focused on. If you have an overly excited dog that starts to get aggressive during tug of war, it is best not to play this game.
Training your dog doesn’t need to involve instructors and dog training classes, you can train your dog just for fun while you are spending time together inside. Training your dog from home also allows you the opportunity to practice off leash training without having to worry about your dog running away. Plus, your dog won’t have as many distractions when you’re training from home. Make training a fun and exciting experience for your dog. Use some high value meaty treats that makes them want to learn. Practice the skills your dog already knows, such as sit or down, while adding in some new skills like coming when called or rolling over. Try to find 15 minutes a day to practice training with your dog.
7. Dog treadmill
If you’re finding yourself spending a lot of time indoors with your dog, you may be realizing how difficult it is to exercise your dog and help them burn off energy when there isn’t a whole lot of space to run and play. For some dog owners, canine treadmills have become a solution. Dog treadmills are specifically designed for canines, with a level surface for your dog to move on. They also have slower speeds to accommodate smaller dogs. If you’re trying to find a good way to exercise your dog while you’re together at home, a dog treadmill may be an option for you.
Grooming your dog is a great way to pamper your pooch while also making sure they are comfortable and healthy. It is also a wonderful way to spoil your dog and grow the bond you share. When you groom your dog it gives you the chance to thoroughly examine your dog and check for any health issues. Grooming also helps you keep your dog healthy as it stimulates hair growth. Grooming is more than just brushing or combing your dog. Here are a few other grooming methods you can try at home:
Giving your dog a bath
Brushing your dog’s teeth
Cleaning your dog’s ears
Clipping your dog’s nails
Filing your dog’s nails
Applying paw balm
Giving your dog a massage
9. Playing fetch or catch
Most people don’t even consider playing fetch or catch with their dog in the house because they are afraid there isn’t enough room and something could get broken. But playing fetch or catch is actually quite easy to play indoors as long as you’re careful. Instead of throwing the ball really far, roll it across the floor. You can also try hiding the ball and letting your dog try to find it. Put it on a couch or chair so your dog has to jump up to get it or wrap it up in a blanket so your dog has to work to untwist the blanket to get to his toy. When it comes to catch, you can even play catch from the comfort of your bed! Start slowly by teaching your dog to catch the ball in their mouth as you gently toss it to them. Your dog will begin to learn to watch the ball or toy and follow it with their eyes which makes them more skilled at catching. Soon you’ll be able to toss the ball in the air and your dog will jump up and catch it in their mouth. This challenging game will keep your dog entertained for as long as you’re willing to play!
10. Arts and crafts
Many people create arts and crafts when they’re spending a bunch of time inside but they don’t often consider getting their pet involved. A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of different ideas for arts and crafts you can do with your pet. From getting a painted paw print or nose print, to adding their fur to an ornament, or even making a clay ornament with an imprint of their paw. You can even make toys for your dog while you’re stuck at home, or bake them a homemade treat. If it doesn’t turn out perfectly, your dog doesn’t care. They are just happy to get to spend time with you.
The weather outside doesn’t have to be gorgeous for you to spend some time playing with your dog or trying some fun new activities. Spending time with your dog indoors can be just as fun as playing outside. No matter how you choose to spend the extra indoor time you have with your dog, just make sure to make it fun. Head on over to our online store to pick up some delicious food and treats for your dog and while you’re there, be sure to check out a few of our other blogs!