The dull, gray months of winter haven’t seemed to leave us, despite the fact that it is supposed to be Spring. While your dog knows that the cold is not the most fun environment to romp around in, he still has that excess energy and the need to keep his mind—and his nose—occupied.
Cold temperatures, rainy days and bleak weather can eliminate the option of a delightful stroll through the park or a walk through the woods, so creativity is a must in order to keep your pup busy and engaged within your home’s walls.
From technology and inside games, to learning new tricks and skills, there are a number of ways you can keep your dog—and yourself—entertained during what seems to be the never ending drab and cold months of the year.
Though a bad weather day might keep you and your dog indoors, sometimes a little change in routine opens the door for new activities!
Today we’re sharing seven methods you can use to keep your pup’s body and brain active, even when you’re stuck inside.
- Treat-Dispensing Cameras
Bring your dog’s entertainment sources into the 21st century with a unique treat-dispensing camera!
These cameras help you do much more than just keep a watchful eye on Fido while you’re away. You can speak one-on-one to your dog and drop a tasty surprise now and then to keep him alert even when you’re not in the neighborhood.
From the convenience of your smartphone, you can chat with your dog while you’re at work or running errands—though just the sound of your voice will certainly be appreciated by your lonely pup, a treat is a welcome bonus!
- Make Snack Time (and Dinner Time) Brain Time!
Dogs love a challenge—if they could hold a pen, they’d be eager to do your taxes, but alas – no thumbs! Unfortunately, while you’re hard at work all day, there is nary a challenge in sight.
Treat-dispensing toys offer a variety of canine-entertainment options to engage your dog’s attention for a while. Toys of this nature come in different levels of difficulty, from a simple chew to mind-bending brain-teasers.
Some trainers even suggest removing traditional dog bowls all together and instead feeding your dog via puzzle toys. Believe it or not, dogs love working for their meals—give your pup what his brain craves and make him put in some effort for dinner!
If fancy treat-dispensing toys aren’t your dog’s forte, you can make your own intriguing challenges just by hiding chews, bones, and toys around the house. Just make sure to keep the game on the ground level so your dog isn’t encouraged to peek up on your counters or tables.
- Work on New Tricks
If you share your dog’s boredom, why not use the cold weather as an opportunity for indoor bonding between you and your pup?
An excellent way to do this is to work on new tricks—or perhaps just master the basic ones! You’ll get to spend the time enjoying your dog’s company and maybe teach your pup a thing or two!
- Try Doggy Daycare
If your dog is a social butterfly, consider a trip to doggy daycare to combat indoor blues. Though this may cost you a bit, just one or two visits a week may make a world of difference for you dog — the slightest bit of exposure to other four-leggers can have huge mental and social benefits!
- Enroll in a Canine Agility Class
Keeping up on your dog’s exercise is important throughout the seasons—without the convenience of a walk in the nice weather, you should find new and creative ways to keep him in shape.
One idea is a canine agility class—you and your dog can learn the ins and outs of this sport, helping strengthen your bond while keeping fit! Plus, it’ll be a fun new hobby for you two.
Embarking on an activity that you and your dog learn together can do wonders for your relationship.
- Hire a Dog Walker
You might want to consider hiring a trusty dog walker to help keep your dog in shape.
If you know you’re not going to be up for that 30-minute walk after work, hire a dog walker to pick up the slack. There are many nationally based dog walking services, but there are almost always plenty of local options too for any owner who lives in a major city. When that fails, neighborhood kids are often eager to earn a buck too!
Many dog-walking services also offer a discount for newcomers, so make use of those free walks while spring showers are upon us.
- Play Games Like Tug-of-War or Hide-and-Seek
If all else fails, simple activities like tug-of-war and hide-and-seek will still do wonders for your dog’s mental and physical state.
Just a few minutes of playtime several times a day will help keep your dog’s mind and body active. These are fun for both you and your dog—chances are, if you’re having fun, so is your pup!
Whether it’s a rainy day or the temperatures aren’t optimal for outdoor activities, your dog still needs the same amount of exercise. With a little creativity, you can find new and interesting ways to keep your dog’s mind and body active throughout the year.
Make the effort to keep your dog from going stir-crazy, your dog will be most grateful you did!
Feature Image: @lizzie.bear
About The Author: Meg Marrs is the owner and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine, a dog care resource site dedicated to helping owners better care for their furry four-legged pals!