Another winter is creeping in. The days are shorter and darker. On cold, blustery days, it’s hard to get the motivation to do anything besides sit on the couch with our dogs.
Even though it makes for a restful afternoon, it isn’t healthy for us or our dogs to go into semi-hibernation when the temperatures start to drop. Lack of activity will lead to boredom, anxiety, and eventually, start affecting our dog’s behavior. What can you do when the snow is falling or the wind has made it too cold to get in a walk?
Fortunately, there are plenty of ideas to get your dog the activity and exercise they need. It’s time to move the fun times inside. We have some great ideas for indoor activities that will keep your dog active in winter. Keep reading so you can have some winter fun with your dog while staying warm indoors!
Indoor Activities To Keep Your Dog Active In Winter
Puzzle Toys- This is an easy activity that is also great for entertaining your dog when you aren’t home. Toys like a Kong or a snuffle mat make your dog work for a treat. This will engage your dog’s brain and give them the cognitive exercise they need.
There are even treat puzzles you can DIY if you want to give your dog a new challenge. Not only are DIY puzzles new and exciting for your dog, they’re also easy to put together because they use things you probably already have around the house.
Treasure Hunt- This is a fun game that lets you practice your training skills with your dog. Plus, when things warm-up, you can even take this game outside.
Start by letting your dog sniff a treat in your hand. Take several treats, and hide them around your house. Let your dog sniff them out. If your dog has never played before, she may need some prompting from you, and you should hide them in an obvious spot.
As your dog gets more advanced, you can make the treats more difficult to find. This game is especially great for working breeds who really thrive when they feel they have a job of their own.
Indoor Agility Course- Set up an agility course in your own living room! You don’t need a fancy agility set (although you can snag one online). You can use laundry baskets for obstacles for your dog to go over or around. Have a hula hoop leftover from the latest fitness fad? Let your dog jump through it! Make tunnels out of chairs and if you have scrap wood lying around, you can even make a balance beam!
Activity Centers- This activity works best with more than one person, but you can manage if your dog is your only roommate. Set up different activities in various rooms of your house, tug of war in one, a teaser toy in another, and a game of fetch down the hall.
Have someone call your dog to each location. Make sure your dog gets a treat for responding to her name. In each area, she gets 5 minutes or so with that specific activity before she is called to another room.
This helps reinforce her training to come when she is called. The different activities will keep her attention while burning that excess energy!
Hide and Seek- This is another game that can involve more than one human. Grab a treat, and find a place to hide. Call your dog, and let her find you. If your dog has not yet mastered the stay command, have another person hold her until you call her name.
You can also use this as an opportunity to teach your dog a new command. Hide a toy, or have another person hide. Start by letting your dog find the toy or person, you may need to guide her initially. When she makes contact with them, click or use your clicker word. As she learns to look for them herself, start teaching her the command word, something like “search” or “find”.
Dance Party- Do you have a dog that likes to jump? Throw on some music and encourage your dog to dance with you. Get your dog to focus on jumping next to you, not on you, and allow him to get his wiggles out in an approved way.
Host A Dog Party- Speaking of dancing… invite a few of your dog’s pals over, and have a winter celebration. You can incorporate some indoor games, like the treasure hunt or the indoor agility course, to keep your canine guests entertained.
Take An Indoor Walk- If you’re starting to feel like you’re trapped in the house, your dog probably is too. Hop in the car and take a ride to your favorite pet store. Take some time to walk around and browse the shelves. Invite a friend to meet you with their pup, so all of you can get in some much needed socialization.
Indoor Dog Park- If you are lucky enough to live near an indoor dog park, take your dog on a little field trip. Your dog will have an opportunity to play with other dogs, and you won’t have to worry about dressing in layers. Remember that you will need to make sure your dog is up to date on vaccines before you are allowed to enter.
Obedience Training- Blustery weather is the perfect time to work on basic obedience training. Even if your dog is well trained, he could use a refresher course. You can use your indoor activities with your dog as a way to put the commands into practice and incorporate training into your dog’s day in a fun way.
Need some more ideas? Check out this list of 17 unique things to do with your dog.
All of these ideas are just a starting point! Use them as inspiration for your own fun indoor activities! Do you have anything you like to do with your dog when it starts to get chilly? Comment below!