Indoor activities for dogs in winter
Why indoor activities for dogs?
Indoor activities for dogs can enrich, entertain and calm your pooch when the weather is miserable. They are also great when you can’t leave the house for long periods due to a lockdown.
It’s important that your dog gets plenty of mental and physical stimulation every day. Otherwise, your dog may become unhappy and destructive. Plus, work from home can be extra difficult with a hyperactive dog!
Needless to say, outdoor exploration and walks in the fresh air are ideal. However, it’s worth having a backup plan if the weather is wet or you are sick and can’t leave the house.
With some Aussie states experiencing lockdowns this winter, we thought it was time to revisit ways to keep your pooch happy indoors.
Fun indoor activities for dogs
Feeding enrichment is a healthy way for your dog to use their natural instincts during mealtime. Additionally, feeding enrichment slows your dog’s eating down, manages their appetite and improves their digestion.
Some ideas for feeding enrichment include hiding treats around the house for your dog to ‘hunt’ or using a slow feeder, such as a snuffle mat or Kong. This allows your dog to use their brain to explore, sniff and problem solve, rather than mindlessly woofing down their food. Plus, your dog will love the reward that comes with working for their meal!
It's worth also mentioning that a chew toy or kong with a smear of natural peanut butter on the inside can be hours of fun for your dog, without ruining their appetite. Chewing is a great way for your dog to exercise its jaws and release tension.
Teach your dog new tricks
Dogs need to be mentally engaged every day in order to be happy and relaxed, and training is a great way to do that.
Fortunately, dog trick training doesn’t need to take up a lot of space. Clear some furniture or head into your garage, and be sure to bring a pocketful of treats!
Alternatively, you might want to set up a doggy obstacle course using furniture and boxes in your living room. Positive reinforcement is the best way to get results from your dog, as it makes the experience more fun.
There are plenty of fun games you can play with your dog indoors, most of which don’t need loads of space.
You might like to work with another family member to play a game of hide and seek with your dog. To do this, distract your pooch whilst the other person hides. Your dog will love the fun challenge of finding its favourite humans!
Of course, we can’t go past an old-school game of fetch or tug-of-war in the backyard or balcony. To keep your dog engaged, play the tug-o-war game in a back and forth motion (think ‘you’re winning! Now I’m winning!’).
And lastly, here are some easy homemade dog toys that you can whip up from items around the house. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on dog toys - as long as they are sturdy and safe, a dog doesn’t know the difference!
No time for indoor activities with dogs? Hire a pet sitter
If you are unwell and can’t leave the house, a pet sitter can step in and help out. Here is a guide to a covid-safe handover with a dog walker if you are in a locked-down state. This might also come in handy if you are an essential worker and are out for longer hours than normal. A pet sitter will keep your dog happy and exercised, preventing separation anxiety and stress.