5 Creative Ways To Keep Dogs Entertained Indoors In The Winter
Snow, rain, and cold weather can make it difficult to give dogs the proper exercise and entertainment that they need during the winter, especially when it gets dark before 5pm. Let’s be honest, sometimes after a long day, taking your dog on a walk in the cold is the last thing you want to do. Thankfully, with some creativity, you can keep your dog entertained indoors and get them the stimulation needed to relax happily all night beside you.
Take your dog to sniff new smells
It’s understandable that dogs, like humans, get a little stir crazy in the winter. Plus, that sentiment has likely been compounded during quarantine due to less opportunities to sniff and greet both human and doggy friends. By taking your dog somewhere new, you’re giving them the opportunity to discover new smells and explore new environments, both of which mentally stimulate dogs. Need some ideas? Take them to a new pet store to pick out a toy, swing by a coffee shop with outdoor heaters for a puppuccino, or sign up for a one-night getaway at a dog-friendly hotel.
Turn your house into an indoor agility course
Just as kids (and let’s admit it -- adults too) enjoy building blankets forts in the house, your dog will love it when you make an agility course! Think about all of the items you already have at your disposal that can be used -- chairs to jump over, stools to weave around, stairs to sprint up, a bed to crawl under, a bench to act as a ramp, etc. You’ll need to get creative but it will be worth it, we promise! Agility courses provide dogs not only with mental and physical stimulation they need, it also works on their obedience. By the end of quarantine, your dog might be ready for the real deal!
Take your dog for a snow day
Take your dog on a snow day adventure! Dogs can do lots of things in snow -- hike, play fetch, or even sled! Of course, be sure to keep your dog on a leash in public, and you may want to invest in booties to keep their paws comfortable, but your dog will love being in a new, exciting environment and will be exhausted afterwards.
Increase your dog’s daily steps while you sit and watch
Do you have a staircase in your house? Sit at the top of the stairs for a game of indoor fetch. Provided your dog is in good health (especially their joints), you can use the stairs as a way to get their energy out without ever leaving the house. Instead of throwing a ball, which risks bouncing into items that may break, toss a plush toy down for your pup to fetch. Be sure to reward them for bringing it back!
Sign your dog up for doggy daycare
If you feel as though you’ve tried it all and your dog still has pent up energy, it may be time up to try out daycare. Doggy daycare offers a way for your dog to be active, social, and enjoy new smells all at the same time. Not to mention that you can use their time at doggy daycare as an opportunity for some TLC or to run errands! If your dog isn’t the most sociable or doesn’t typically enjoy dog park-like environments, no worries. Many daycare facilities offer special programs for dogs who are particular with who they are around. Just give them a call and talk through your dog’s unique personality!
Staying active in the winter is hard on everyone -- the nights are cold and dark, and the couch is so inviting. Thankfully, you don’t always have to take your dog on a long walk to keep them exercised. Just think creatively, and you’ll both have a blast!
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