The snow might be falling outside, but your dog still wants to play. Don’t let the cold weather slow you or your furry friend down. There are all sorts of fun indoor dog activities to play this winter from the comfort of your home.
Dogs Need Exercise Even In The Winter
Your pooch needs to stay active all year round. The physical exercise that comes from playing is important to your dog’s health. It helps tone their muscles, sparks their metabolism, and provides crucial mental stimulation.1
Every dog has different requirements based on their age and breed. Talk to your veterinarian to get a good sense of how much exercise your pet needs. Use this knowledge to help guide what kinds of indoor games you play and how often you play them.
Play Ideas For Cold Days
The temperature on the outdoor thermometer may keep you inside, but it doesn’t need to keep you from playing a few fun indoor games with your dog. Check out these ideas to ensure your pet gets adequate physical and mental stimulation all winter.
Organize A Playdate With Other Dogs
If you have neighbors, friends, or family with playful pooches, then you can set up a time for them all to play together at the house. This will give your dog a chance to run around and get some exercise.
All that socialization may help to reduce stress in dogs, making them feel more confident in new environments and situations. Keep your dog well socialized during the winter, and you will keep them happy and less anxious.2
Build An Obstacle Course
Pull down those couch cushions to erect some soft walls. Balance a broomstick between two chairs. Use whatever you need to make your dog an obstacle or agility course inside.
This kind of game funnels your dog’s energy into a healthy and productive outlet. Dodging obstacles and crawling through tight spots teaches dogs important problem solving skills. Plus, the positive encouragement you provide along the way offers a valuable self-esteem boost.3
Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Dogs can always learn new tricks. Yes, even old dogs.
If you use a training system designed around rewards, you can teach your dog tricks and encourage good manners. Offer a treat, a favorite toy, or kind words when your dog obeys a command or behaves well.4
Start with basic commands like “sit” and work your way up to more advanced tricks like rolling over or playing dead.
A reward-based system helps build a positive association between action and outcome. Your dog will begin to understand that their good behavior yields good treats. This might help make them better behaved and more eager to learn. Plus, it builds a stronger relationship between you and your canine.5
Personal Dog Gym At Home
If you have stairs in your house, you can walk up and down a few times with your dog. Chances are, after a while, they might want to keep going when you’re ready for a break. That’s okay. You can sit at the bottom of the stairs and throw a ball to the top of the stairs for them to retrieve.
This kind of physical activity is super important for your dog’s health. Proper exercise may help prevent joint discomfort, weight gain, bad behavior, and a whole bunch of undesirable health issues.6
Scavenger Hunt At Home
Searching and hunting come natural to dogs.7 Take advantage of these instincts by hiding treats or food around the house for your dog to find.
This is also a great time to practice some commands. Work on “sit” and “stay” as you hide a treasure for your dog. Then, when the time is right, tell your dog to “find” it.
You can also try hiding their favorite toy. Anything that gets them moving around on a cold day is good. Especially, when there’s treasure involved.
Play A Mini Game Of Fetch
If you have the space, you might be able to play a game of fetch in the house. Before you start tossing their favorite toy or frisbee around, make sure that there’s nothing fragile or dangerous they might bump into. You don’t want to break anything, and you really don’t want your dog to get hurt.
If the coast is clear, toss your dog a toy. Work on commands like “give” when they bring you the toy. If they behave, you can reward them with treats. This game provides them with some much needed exercise and training.
Blow Bubbles In The House
It may sound silly, but many dogs love bubbles. This is a great game for tiny spaces because it focuses your dog’s energy in a small area.
Start by getting your dog’s attention. Tell them to “sit.” When they’re focused and seated, blow bubbles around them. They will love to bite at these floating toys. This also gives them a chance to scratch their natural instincts to chase.8
Note: Only use safe, non-toxic bubbles that won’t irritate your dog’s eyes or mouth.
Play A Game Of Tug Of War
This is a really easy way to keep your dog from getting bored on rainy, cold days. You can even play while you sit on the couch. Just make sure that you set up ground rules before you begin.
Teach your dog commands like “drop it” and “stop” to start out. These rules and boundaries prevent your dog from getting over-excited with their tug toy. A structured game like this can leave your dog mentally stimulated and strengthen the bond between you.9
Cold Weather: A Time For Fun Games At Home
Being stuck inside with your dog on a cold winter day doesn’t have to be a bore. There are all sorts of ideas for fun indoor activities that you can play together. Throw those toys around. Build a doggy fort. The possibilities are endless.
Treat this time of year as something special – an opportunity to spend quality time with your canine companion. Your dog will love the attention and time with you.
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