Despite some snow, it’s actually been an unusual winter here in Boise. In December we were hitting close to 50 degrees some days, now in February, we've been averaging just above 35 degrees. We’ve been very fortunate, especially those of us who have furry friends that can’t wait to get back outside! But those colder days can be brutal, especially when our dogs start acting out or acting strangely because they’ve been cooped up inside all day. The good news is that there are many positive activities you can provide your dog with so that they stay as their usual, happy and healthy selves!
Fun Indoor Activities for Dogs
If your dog is heading toward “slump-mode” and you can tell that being inside all day is getting to them, there are actually many activities you can do to keep them active.
Free and Easy Activities
Obviously, some of the best activities you could provide your dog with require some money, but not all of them do. Here are some fun and free activities:
Play dates: These are a great way to keep your dog (and someone else’s, so it’s a win-win) entertained and loving life. They’ll be running around, playing, and getting that socialization they so desperately need! All you have to do is invite another owner to bring their dog by, throw a couple of toys in the middle of a room, and let them go to play. It’s super simple, and dogs love it.
Build an obstacle course using things at home: Dogs love challenges that are mental and physical. There are so many variations of obstacle courses you can create within your own home to challenge your furry friend. And if they get a little treat at the end, they’ll love it even more!
Make meal times a game: Dogs love a good hunt, so why not make them hunt for their food? We’re not talking literal hunting, obviously. We’re talking about hiding your dog’s food in a conspicuous spot and telling them to go sniff it out. Dog’s are incredibly good at sniffing out food so you may be surprised at how quickly they can do so. This may mean you’ll need to keep increasing the difficulty level to keep them engaged and on the move.
Indoor Activities Requiring a Little Money but Less Work from You
Make your dog work for their food or a treat: Food dispensing balls and food-puzzle toys are a godsend if you’re willing to pay a couple dollars. There are all sorts of different difficulty levels, so you’ll have to figure out which gives your dog a challenge, but they are so fun! All you have to do is place a little treat inside and give it to your dog, and they’ll have a great bit of physical and mental exercise from these.
- Get your dog a treadmill or send them somewhere that has one: Although dogs may take a little while to get used to treadmills, once they discover how they work they typically really enjoy them! Providing little treats as they go can also keep them on the treadmill for longer and help them burn off more energy and get that exercise they so desperately need. You’ll want to start them on a low speed, and you can easily work them up to faster speeds. Dog treadmills are much smaller than human treadmills, so you don’t have to worry about them taking up a lot of space either. It could benefit you to send your dog somewhere they can get used to being on a treadmill before buying one, that way you can ensure it’s an activity they enjoy before you spend the money.
- Enroll your dog in classes: So many dog owners are jumping on this train for many reasons, but one of the most significant reasons being that they can just drop off their dog and go about their already busy days. Some of the reasons classes can be so great for your dog is that they a) are getting exercise, b) can socialize with other dogs, c) are receiving additional training (who doesn’t love a well-trained dog?). There are all sorts of great classes that can be taken at IPH, including:
- Puppy Preschool to learn basic commands and social skills
- Dog Day Care includes free play, fetch, learning basic commands, thinking games, manners training, learning tricks, and more importantly, getting social with other canines
Don’t Let Your Dog Get Bored
Keep your dog active and healthy this winter! At IPH, we can take care of your pets throughout the day while you’re busy, so you don’t have to worry about them. Just contact us to figure out the right solution for your dog.