On cold or rainy days, it’s easy to lean into lethargy by curling up near the fire and binging the latest show while munching on your favorite snack.
While we don’t have a problem entertaining ourselves when the weather doesn’t cooperate, pet owners struggle to say the same about our furry friends. To help combat your pup’s cabin fever, here are six ways to keep your dog entertained and active when the weather forces you to stay inside.
Rope toys – A passionate game of tug-of-war is the perfect go-to indoor game. Just make sure you keep it playful—aggressive dogs can become possessive during tug-of-war.
Ball toys – Fetch is likely the most efficient way to burn calories and energy with your dog aside from going on a run. Although fetch is mostly played outside, you can play it indoors, too. Keep the balls away from fragile parts of the house, or use stuffed toys. If you have a long hallway or carpeted stairs, you can use these areas of the home to easily play.
Chew toys – The beauty of chew toys is two-fold. First, it allows your dog to exert physical effort while quenching chewing behaviors. Second, it can capture the attention of your pet for an extended amount of time if you choose the right product. USA-produced bully sticks and Nylabones can keep your pet busy for a while. You can even try treat-dispensing toys and stuff them with food like soft-cooked rice, then freeze them for an added bonus. CET chews and other similar treats can also occupy your pet while aiding their dental hygiene.
Muffin tin game – Try hiding bits of kibble or small treats inside a muffin tin, then top the cups with tennis balls. Your pup will have to work to remove the tennis ball to receive the treats. This will expend their mental energy while they’re learning to play the game.
Obstacle course – Create different obstacle courses in your home. Use things like laundry baskets and larger pillows for your dog to jump over. String blankets from furniture so your pet can walk under the makeshift tunnel. You can even hide treats along the obstacle course as incentives to get through the game.
Hide and seek – There are two ways you can play hide and seek indoors with your pet. First, you can hide while your dog stays in another room, waiting for you to call them to come search for you. Second, you can hide treats throughout the house for your pet to find.
No matter which game you play indoors, make sure to reward your pet with proper treats and praise!
3. Play Date
Do you have neighbors or family members with dogs of their own? Just like with kids, an easy way to keep your pet preoccupied is by introducing peers into their life. Play dates are great ways to keep your furry friend socially active.
4. Make Feeding Fun
When housebound, change up feeding methods to make it more of an active process. Whether using food-dispensing toys or even scattering food around the house, you can turn mealtime into an opportunity to get up and moving.
If you’re really in need of getting your pup some extra steps, play fetch with kibble. Ask your dog to “sit” and “stay” before tossing the food, then have them go after the food. You can repeat this process until their meal is gone.
One way to expend your pet’s mental and physical energy is to teach them a new trick. This is a great way to spend a lot of time with your dog, and it’s extremely rewarding for both of you. Tricks like “play dead” and “roll over” are a few more complicated moves that can be fun to teach your dog. Along the same lines, consider obedience training, agility training and scent work.
6. General Time Together
At the end of the day, keeping your dog entertained is all about making sure they’re well-attended. If you’re going to be inside for an extended period, make the most of it! While physical and mental exercises might be priority, spending quality time together will help add to your pup’s sense of fulfillment. Cuddling up by the T.V., grooming, petting or massaging, listening to music or taking cozy naps can elevate both of your moods during the cold or rainy days.
At Pet Butler, we want you and your canine friend to spend as much time together as possible. That’s why we’re here to take on dreaded chores like poop scooping so you can get more time back in your day to do the things you love. Learn about the services we offer in your area.