Entertaining Your Dog Indoors

A few years ago now we were living in a time of quarantine which was tough on everyone, but especially on our dogs. Now, we are in the thick of winter and with the return of the rain, our pets are likely to be feeling the effects of cabin fever. They don't understand why we didn't take them out to the dog park or out on a hike around other people and dogs. They think we've chosen the hermit life voluntarily. Luckily, there are ways to keep your dog entertained indoors, and we've got some of your best options right here!

1. Let your dog be a hunter/gatherer for their food

One of the easiest ways to keep your dog entertained indoors is to change and extend feeding time. Instead of just giving your dog her food in a bowl, use a puzzle feeder to make the experience more challenging and rewarding. Puzzle feeders help your dogs slow down when they eat, and also can engage other skills and sense like their sense of smell. Our favorite puzzle feeders to recommend are Outward Hound bowls and Kong Wobblers , alongside "snuffle mats" for the exceptionally bored dog.

2. Teach some tricks!

Being stuck indoors is the best time to teach your old (and not-so-old) dogs some new tricks. Training your dog is a big game for them, and comes with some great benefits for you. You'll need some high-quality treats or toys. If normal dog treats aren't doing the trick, you can always cut up a hot dog or some pepperoni. Keep your training sessions short, about fifteen minutes, to make sure that you and your dog don't get frustrated. Some easy tricks to teach include:

  • Sit
  • Lie down
  • Spin in either direction
  • Go between your legs
  • Stay

While more advanced tricks might include scent work, agility basics, or "play dead." No matter which tricks you choose, now is a great time to start training your dog while you're stuck at home.

3. Indoor Athletics

As long as you don't live above someone, some exercise inside the house can be a great way to keep your dog entertained. You can play a simple game of chase, play wrestle, or even start training your dog on a more advanced game like hide and seek. You can hide a toy and tell them to "go find it", or you can hide yourself (under a blanket usually works) and call for them until they find you. No matter what you do, be sure to give plenty of praise, and make sure it's a fun time for both of you. 

Work with your dog's breed tendencies. If you've got a dog that likes to play fetch, set aside some time to throw the ball across the living room. If your dog loves to tug, play tug-o-war with him until he's tired out. And if you've got a scent hound, consider scent training as a way to keep them amused and on their toes. 

4. Mix it up

No matter how you choose to entertain your dog, be sure to give them some variety from day to day. Even retrievers like to play a different game once in a while. And don't forget -- share your favorite pics of your furry friends with us on Facebook or Instagram