We talked about it in our last post: the extreme colds in the winter can sometimes force us to stay indoors with our dog. Though, your dog still needs to be active every day for both his physical and mental health. To leave him idle for too long could create stress, boredom, anxiety and ultimately, poor behavior and health problems. Your social team has therefore thought to offer some activities and games to stimulate your furry friend, even if he has to stay inside the house!
The classic toy toss is always appreciated. Indoors, use his favorite stuffed toy or soft toy rather than a ball to avoid breakage. A simple activity that will excite and activate your dog, without exhausting him.
Gabrielle (also know as Gabrielle and her beasts), the official canine educator of Chien Mondain, specifies that the toy toss can overexcite your dog, and can cause him difficulties calming down afterwards. That's why putting limits is important. You can teach him to keep the toy longer in his mouth before giving it back to you. To work on his concentration and self control, you can also ask him to wait for your permission before picking up the ball. Teach him to associate the toy you want him to fetch with a name. Above all, adapt to his learning speed, the important thing is that he has fun while learning!
A little obstacle course in the house will also make your companion happy. No need to get complicated, use what you have on hand like a cushion, an ottoman or a chair. He'll spend his energy while practicing his agility, and of course, will be rewarded at the end!
These two activities will delight your dog since you will participate with him! Moreover, you are the one to decide of the duration of the activity. However, it is still practical to have some game ideas that your dog can do by himself.
Hide treats all around the house and let your dog find them. He will work actively on his sense of smell and his concentration. You can also hide his food bowl (with his meal) and ask him to find it!
We all know those famous little rubber toys made to put food or treats inside them, but there are also interactive games and food distributers more complex that will keep your dog occupied for a long time.
To increase the difficulty, Gabrielle suggests to teach your god how to sit when he finally find his hidden food in the house or in his interactive toy. The more he will control himself when finding his dinner, the better your communication with him will be when you are outside! Why? Simply because he will learn to search for something, find it, be happy with his success, but still stay tuned to you.
Another idea to keep your dog physically and mentally active indoors : introduce him to the treadmill, if of course the interest and pleasure are there. You can use yours or buy one made especially for dogs. Go progressively, make sure your dog is always safe and that the speed is right for him. Eventually, you can increase the speed and incline, your dog will love this physical challenge! The treadmill is interesting because it forces the animal to stay focused and to respect the allocated space. Gabrielle has also published a video on the subject.
If you have any doubt about a physical activity to do with your dog, you can consult with Gabrielle ou your local veterinary. They remain your number one ressources for your dog's health.
These suggestions of indoor activities and games are very practical when the temperature is not adequate. Don't forget that outside trips are important for your dog when the cold is less intense. To make it more enjoyable, dress your pet appropriately with a coat and boots. They will keep your dog comfortable and warm. You can also think about reducing the time of your trips outside, but multiplying them.
Rest assured: the warmer weather will be back among us soon. By then, these few ideas of indoors activities and our tips to go outside during winter with your dog will give you a hand!