Oh, the weather outside is frightful!
We’ve been stuck indoors with snow, ice, and temperatures below freezing. It’s supposed to warm up to the low 30s today (fingers crossed!), but finding ways to keep the dogs busy and exercised in the house has been challenging. We’ve had to get creative!
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Here are 10 ways to tire out your dog indoors:
BTW, these work whether it’s too cold, too hot, or if your dog needs to stay inside for recovery… try one or try ’em all, and let me know how it goes!
- Set up an agility course. We propped a broom between two chairs to make a jump and hung a blanket over our couch and coffee table to make a tunnel. This certainly wouldn’t prepare us for any trials, but it keeps them busy and thinking! (Check out the hilarious and terrible pics from our indoor agility trials!)
- Teach a new trick. By the end of the winter, I want Lucas to be able to roll over, Emmett to be able to “dance,” and Cooper to be able to give high fives. If all three can play dead, then you know the weather’s been really bad!
- Play hide and seek. This is one of Emmett’s all-time favorite games. I put the boys on their beds then hide somewhere in the house. I yell, “Find me!” They love this game, and it gets them to use their noses and to dash around the house.
- Stair ball. Obviously this one depends on how your steps are set up to determine if this is a safe game or not. How it works: You sit at the top of a flight of stairs with your dog’s favorite toy or tennis ball. Toss it down the steps, he runs down for it, then brings it back to you at the top. Did you ever have to run stairs in high school gym class? This is an exhausting activity!
- Food toys or puzzles. If you have something like a Kong (the classic or the Stuff-a-Ball) or a Nina Ottosson toy (the Dog Twister is a fave), that works to keep them busy, of course. But you can MacGyver food puzzles. Use overturned cups or – my personal favorite – drop a treat on a blanket and wrap the blanket up so that the treat disappears somewhere on the inside. Lucas loves digging treats out of his blankets.
- Teach touch. We taught the boys to touch their noses to our open palms at the “touch” command. This can be a fun game indoors. Move around to different places in your living room, hold out your hand, then give the command. Emmett and Lucas race to see who can get there first. We also hold our hands out at different heights, call from another room, and reward like crazy for fast responses. (Side note: This is a great safety recall since it’s only ever used for fun with lots of rewards!)
- Break out a new toy. There’s just something about a new toy… Stash a couple for super cold days, and when your dog seems like she’s getting really, really bored, bust out the new toy to re-energize her playfulness. PetSmart has a bunch of rope toys and tennis balls for $0.99 that are perfect for this!
- Have a doggy friend come over. Cady lives next door, and she’s Lucas’ best friend in the whole wide world. Whenever she comes by, they all get so excited and start epic tugging and wrestling matches. By the time they’re finished playing, they’re all completely exhausted!
- Practice skills – quickly! This is a variation on Rally-O. Instead of teaching a new trick or behavior, have your dog run through what he already knows in quick succession. This will get him thinking! Sit, down, on your bed, stay, come, down, high fave, down, wave, whatever, all right in a row. Be sure to keep the order random and reward, reward, reward!
- Snuggle! No, it’s not exactly tiring, but when the weather is cold and gray, there’s nothing better than snuggling under a blanket (in front of the fireplace is preferable!) with your furry friends.
What did I miss?? Any other ideas for tiring out your dog inside on these long, cold winter days? Please share your ideas in the comments below!