Are you looking for indoor games for your pet dog or emotional support animal?
It can be hard keeping your dog busy especially in winters – when it’s dark when you leave for work and still dark outside when you finally get back.
With the days getting short and freezing cold weather outside, it can be challenging to keep your pet active and entertained.
Heavy rains and snow falls can make going on walks impossible, but you can keep your dogs engaged with a little bit of creativity.
Without proper exercise not only do they become lazy but they don’t get mental stimulation. When you take your dogs for a walk, they get mental stimulation by interacting with other dogs and wildlife.
If your dog is becoming bored and showing signs of destructive behavior such as unwanted barking or chewing, it’s probably due to the fact that they’re not getting enough of this stimulation.
If there’s chewed up shoes or curtains in your apartment, then you know what’s really happening.
Your ESA needs attention and some activity to keep them engaged.
Well, It’s not easy coming up with new ways to keep your dogs active and entertained.
To take the burden off your shoulders, we have put together a list of ten simple and fun ideas to keep your dog busy indoors.
These fun games will not only keep your furry friend entertained but will also provide mental stimulation.
1. Play Hide and Seek With Your Four-Legged Friend:
Let’s start with the easiest game you can play with your dog. If your dog doesn’t know how to stay then have a friend or someone else help you.
Leave your dog with a friend while you go and hide in the other room and then tell them to come find you.
Praise and reward them with a treat when they successfully find you.
Hide and seek is a good way to check and improve your dog’s impulse control if they move without getting the “find me” command you can work on that.
2. Solve puzzles with your pet dog:
There are plenty of dog puzzles available that you can get them to solve. This will help keep your dog mentally stimulated.
If you have the time you can also DIY a puzzle for your little friend, here are a few examples:
3. Create an Indoor obstacle course:
You can create an obstacle course inside your house/apartment for your dog to complete. Be creative and come up with different hurdles for them to cross, start with simple jumps and slowly make them jump through hoops and walk through tunnels.
For creating an obstacle inside your home you don’t need specific tools and equipments, you already have the alternatives available at home. Make use of things such as a laundry basket, curtain rods, PVC pipes, hula hoop.
Teach your dog to jump over a hula hoop, or weave through cones, etc.
Try whatever works for you and your pet. It is a good way of teaching them to perform different tasks one after the after.
As your pup starts getting the hang of it, add more challenging tasks and change things up to make it more fun for the both of you. This provides both mental as well as physical stimulation.
4. Teach your pup to chase bubbles:
Another fun activity to keep your doggie busy is teaching them how to chase puzzles. You can get a pet bubble making toy or make one yourself, all you need is water, soap and a straw.
Many dogs get excited when they see bubbles; it is a cheap and easy way to keep them active and occupied.
Playing with your dog indoors doesn’t get much easier than this.
Make sure that they stay away from the soap mixture and after you are done playing wipe your dog’s face with a damp cloth to avoid the soap irritating its eyes.
5. Plan a doggie play date:
The best way is to invite your pups friend(s) over for a playdate. This will give them a chance to play and engage with their own species while you can relax.
However, there are a few things you need to consider prior to hosting a playdate.
6. Organize a scavenger hunt:
A treasure hunt can be a good way for you to bond with your dog. You can plan one for a playdate, where you and your friends can take part in this hunt with their respective dogs.
With each clue hide a treat to make it more rewarding for the dog’s and as the final prize get a fancy pet toy.
7. Teach them a new trick:
It can be fun teaching your dog a new trick or brush up on old tricks. Since you have the time, you can make your pup learn something fun with the right amount of practice and technique.
Here’s a few tricks you can teach them to do on command:
Teaching them new tricks is good for their mental stimulation, it also increases their focus and helps improve impulse control.
8. Give them a doggie massage:
Treat your dog to a nice and relaxing massage; there are plenty of physical and emotional benefits of doing so. Massaging your dog also helps in spotting out potential medical conditions such as sore spots before they get worse.
However, massaging a dog is quite different to massaging a human, instead of the deep tissue massage concentrate on gentle motions.
Here’s a quick step by step massage process:
9. Name their toys:
Teach your dog to identify their toys by their names. Start by a toy they are familiar with for example a ball that they recognize. Get them to bring the ball by calling out the name and appreciate them with a treat, repeat this process until they are able to distinguish between different toys based on their names.
10. Play the shell game:
This is another simple yet fun game you can play with your dog. All you’re going to need is three identical cups/bowls and few treats.
Place a treat under a cup in front of them and then shuffle the cups. Encourage your dogs to look for the treat by choosing the correct cup. The shell game is good for mental stimulation and problem solving skills.
How do you give your dog mental stimulation, do you focus on physical or mental activities?
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What are some of your favorite brain games that you enjoy playing with your furry friend?
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