4 Ways to Keep Your Dog Entertained During the Winter
Now that we are deep in the winter freeze, your dog (and maybe even yourself) may be going stir crazy from spending so much time cooped up indoors. Many dog owners are dreaming about those summer months where it is so easy to keep dogs occupied with ball tossing in the park or romps on the beach. During these cold months, it can require a bit more creativity to keep your dog entertained and happy. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor activities that can keep your dog occupied. Who know, your dog might enjoy these activities so much, you can continue them into the warmer spring and summer months as well!
Idea 1: Play a Game with Your Dog
No, we don’t mean breaking out Settlers of Catan (though if you do have a dog that can play Setters, please email us cause we gotta see that!) A simple game like hide-and-seek can mentally engage a dog and get them moving about the house. Hiding a favorite toy or a stinky treat can be a lot of fun, but to make the game truly engaging, make your dog search for you!
To start off, toss a treat to direct your dog’s attention away from you, then hide in another part of the house, but still close to your dog. Then, if your dog successfully finds you, give them a treat. If your dog seems to be having trouble locating you, toss another treat in their direction to get them on the right path. Depending on your dog’s personality, it may take some coaxing for them to learn to play the game. Other dogs will take to the idea right away and will want to play all day long!
Idea 2: Take Your Dog to Explore a Store
Taking your dog to a store is a good way to mix up the scenery while staying warm during the winter months. Many dog owners love to take their dog to the pet goods store. It’s a good place to check out some new smells and meet new people and dogs.
But there are many types of stores beyond the pet stores that allow dog guests. An online search may reveal a whole list of stores you never considered bringing your dog to before. It’s always best to call ahead to double check your store’s pet policy.
Here are some types of stores that typically allow friendly doggie visitors:
- Home Improvement Stores
- Sporting and Hunting Goods Stores
- Farm and Feed Stores
- Book stores
- Home Goods Stores
- Liquor Stores
Idea 3: Try Out a New Class
Winter is the perfect time to try out a new indoors class with your dog. A basic obedience class can help your dog improve their manners. A tricks class can be a fun way to challenge your dog’s mind and help improve your bond. Not only that, you can delight your friends and family with your dog’s goofy new antics!
If your dog is the more active type and already has some basic obedience skills, they may enjoy trying out an agility class. Many indoor agility centers offer one day trial class, and if your dog gets really good, you can rent a course for some individual time.
Indoor dog swimming pools are becoming more common as well. If your dog is missing the lake or beach, this could be a good way to get them some fun water time.
Idea 4: Make Your Dog Work for their Food
It’s easy to get in the habit of just plopping down a bowl of food for your dog, but this is a perfect opportunity to introduce some activity to your dog’s day. There are a variety of ways to make your dog exercise their brain to get to their food.
Look for puzzle toys that require your dog to do some activity to get to their food. Some of them are as simple as a wobbler that your dog has to knock around, to compartments that require your dog to push a button. The amount of challenge should match your dog’s personality. Not all dogs enjoy a big challenge, but some dogs can’t get enough of it!
There are also specialty food bowls with ridges and crevices that make your dog get in at different angles to find their food. Snuffle mats are becoming a very popular way to make mealtime active time. These are mats with grass-like protrusions that dog needs to sniff and snuffle around to find the food hiding within.
You don’t have to buy a new toy to make mealtime exciting for your dog. Check out these ideas for DIY dog feeding fun:
What other ideas do you have for keeping your dog entertained indoors during these long winter months? Leave a comment below!