We have all been faced with this question this year: We are stuck inside for one reason or another – COVID, cold, snow, rain etc. and most of our dogs don’t quite get the mental and physical stimulation that they need. Without the ability to go out to the dog park or for a long walk they can become bored and get into mischief, make messes and even gain weight. There are a few tips and tricks to keep you and your pup happy and healthy during these cold, snowy days.
Teach Them a New Trick
Teaching your pup a new trick is a great way to get their mind working and also gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride when they finally get it. The important thing to remember is keep your training sessions short – about 10 minutes to keep them from getting overwhelmed or frustrated if they don’t get it right away. Have fun with it, you don’t need to teach them normal “lay down, roll over etc.” try something fun like “clean up” so they can help you put their toys away or “hug” because who doesn’t want a hug from their dog?!
Not only are food puzzles great mental stimulation for dogs, but they also help them slow down when eating their regular meals. You can feed your dog part or all of its meal through different types of food puzzles. By using their regular food you can make sure that they aren’t consuming too many calories in treats. Believe it or not working to get the food from the puzzle can really tucker out your pup. There are even different level puzzles if your pup is a smarty and figures it out, try leveling up. If you can’t get out and let your dog run around consider giving this a try!
Who doesn’t like a good old fashion scavenger hunt? Why would your dog be any different? Hide your dogs favorite treats and toys around your hours or apartment and let them go! See how fast they find it all. Start off by hiding all the things in one room or area, but if your dog loves it, expand the scavenger hunt to other rooms around the house.
If your pup is particularly high energy and agile an obstacle course may be just the thing to wear them out. Use your imagination! Have them jump over a pillow, then once they have that down move to having them crawl under a chair. Maybe next line up their toys and get them to weave in and out. You can keep adding different obstacles based on your dog – start off easy and go from there, the sky’s the limit!
If the obstacle course isn’t your dog’s speed, maybe a spa day is more up their alley. Spend some time brushing them and pampering them. Give them a bath and get them all clean. You can even give them a massage which can help reduce stiffness and make them ready for some play time!
And of course after a long day of scavenger hunts and puppy massages some cuddle time may be just what your dog needs! Spend some time cuddled up with your dog – it is good for both of you. Allow your dog to rest in between training sessions or obstacle courses to ensure they get the most out of their play time.
Of course, not all of these options will work for every pup – every dog is different. Give a few a try and see how your dog responds. Bored dogs can wind up with health and behavioral problems. The most important thing is your dog’s health and happiness!