If you’re avoiding travel and find yourself spending more time indoors this Spring break, there are many fun exercises to ward off boredom and keep you and your dog active. These fun indoor activities will help to keep cabin fever at bay and burn some extra energy for you and your dog.
A perfect time to practice tricks
Time spent at home is a perfect opportunity to brush up on old tricks and teach some new ones. For starters, play off what your dog knows, If they’ve mastered “shake”, you can easily move onto a “touch” or “high-five”.
To keep your dog stimulated and eager to learn, make training sessions short and give positive reinforcement such as treats or affection for a job well done. If your dog isn’t getting as much exercise while you’re spending time indoors, consider a local dog walker to take your pooch for a trip to the local dog park or stroll around the neighbourhood. Low-calorie treats are also a great way to keep your pup healthy if you expect they are burning fewer calories.
Hide treats around the house and watch your dog become a detective while sniffing each one out. Start the game by tossing a treat their way and saying “find it.” Once they’ve associated “find it” with a treat, you can challenge them by hiding the treats in another room.
If digging is a favourite outdoor activity for your dog, you can simulate this indoors while avoiding destruction. For a simple activity, pile up some hardy blankets, hide a few toys or treats inside, and let them go to town. (This can be an easy variation of the “find it!” game).
If you don’t have extra blankets that can hold up to your dog’s digging, try using a plastic kiddie pool and fill it with colorful balls. Your dog will enjoy playing with the plastic balls as much as they will finding treats hidden underneath. There are also toys designed specifically for dogs that absolutely love digging. Check out iDig toys for hours of indoor or outdoor digging fun.
A flirt pole, or a teaser wand, is basically a fishing pole for your dog. You can create something at home or purchase a flirt pole pre-made. All you really need is a stick, some heavier-duty string, and a smaller, chew-safe toy that gets your dog excited and ready to chase. This toy helps to reinforce good behaviour and provides a great workout for you and your dog.
Puzzle treats for clever dogs
What’s better than a new toy? A toy that rewards your dog with a treat, of course! Treat puzzles keep your dog stimulated and occupied while you can kick up your feet and relax. These come in a variety of styles from a stuffed KONG wobbler to a multi-compartment sliding puzzle.
Mental exercise from these toys can help calm your cooped-up canine, and the yummy reward treats will keep them coming back for more.
An at-home obstacle course
Whether your building hurdles with couch cushions or buying some basic agility supplies like a tunnel or weave poles, working together to get through the obstacles strengthens your relationship and builds confidence.
Your dog may not be the next agility champion, but an in-home obstacle course is a fun way for the two of you to bond and stay active while inside.
You can’t beat tried and true activities when it comes to play. Games like fetch or tug are classics and can be a fun way to get your dog moving indoors.
Fetch can be made more challenging by making the toss of a toy a reward for your dog following a command or doing a trick. Dogs love playing tug because it gives them an outlet for their canine urges to grab and shake. It also gives you the chance to work on training cues like “gentle” and “give.”
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Featured photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash