The winter months are upon us, and during this time it can be challenging to keep your pooches mentally and physically stimulated. Pet parents know that this is needed to keep doggos happy and healthy. Just because your dog is a little reluctant to frolic in the cold and rain it doesn’t mean that it’s okay for him to turn into a doggy couch potato until the warm weather returns.
Lack of exercise in the winter can lead to weight gain and all of the problems that come with pet obesity. Even if your dog doesn’t pack on the kilograms, lying around for days or weeks on end is enough to lead to a serious case of cabin fever! And all that pent-up energy can contribute to some unpleasant behaviour issues.
If you’re not inclined to spend long hours playing in the cold outdoors with your dogs, there are still plenty of great winter indoor activities you can try to help keep him active and entertained. Here are 7 of our favourite dog friendly activities to take away the winter blues.
1. Indoor Training
During cold wet weather you will likely spend a lot of time indoors, so take some time to train your dog. Teaching your dog a new trick or command keeps his mind active while also strengthening your connection with him. All you need is patience and some small treats for an indoor training session with your dog. There are plenty of online videos to teach your dogs a few basic tricks, such as sit, stay, leave, and down, giving your dog the advantage of having indoor manners. Your dog might not get time outdoors, but he will still be active and entertained.
2. Build an obstacle course
Make an agility course using chairs, blankets, broomsticks, hula hoops, and other objects that you already have around your house. Once you can create a course spend time training your dog to navigate it. Just make sure that whatever you set up is stable enough that it won’t be knocked over as your pup works his way through.
3. Treasure hunt
You can challenge your dog just by hiding a few treats around the house for him to sniff out or by placing his food in a new location at feeding time and encouraging him to figure out where it is. Consider also getting puzzle toys to keep your pups mentally enthused.
4. Hide and seek
You can get really creative with this game. Treats aren’t the only thing that your dog will enjoy searching for. Try throwing a small treat into the other room to distract him and then hiding in a different location while he tries to find you. This is bound to provide ultimate giggles.
5. Stair climbing
Running up and down the stairs a few times is a paw-some way to get the blood pumping for both of you. If you prefer not to do the climbing, try tossing a favorite toy up the stairs for your dog to chase. Of course, if your dog is older or has joint issues, stairs may not be the best choice for him.
Who says you have to be in the yard to enjoy a good game of fetch? If your house has a long hallway or a spacious room or two, grab your dog’s favourite toy and toss it around for a while. Consider small bouncy balls to make the game more challenging. (Don’t forget to remove any valuables that could get knocked over by an enthusiastic pup!)
Believe it or not, a lot of dogs go crazy for bubbles! Just make sure to use a pet-friendly variety. Find a safe space to create the bubbles and let the fun begin. If your dog loves to jump, blow the bubbles high and watch your doggo do tricks trying to catch them.
Paw Life would love to know how you keep your dogs entertained during winter or if your pooch enjoyed any of these activities. Comment below and share your experiences.
All that said, if you and your doggos want to brave the cold, check out Paw Life's listed dog parks for an adventurous day out.