The days are fast approaching when we will be spending a bit more time indoors rather than out. Much to the dismay of our dogs, I’m sure. So I wanted to give some ideas for keeping our dogs both mentally and physically satiated during our “indoor months”.
Hide and seek – the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours. They absolutely love putting it to good use. Take a few healthy, extra scented treats such as freeze dried liver or other freeze dried meats and hide them around your house. I suggest making your dog sit/stay while you hide them as an added challenge. Hide 5 or so treats and let his nose do the rest! This is also a fun game to have your children participate in as well. They love trying to stump the dog with their treat hiding places.
Create an indoor obstacle course. Have your dog jump over some towels, weave through his toys, and then lay down on a blanket. Use your imagination and come up with a set of obstacles for your dog to follow. Once your dog has learned how to jump over the towels you then move onto the toy weave. Building on prior tricks will keep your dog mentally stimulated and encourage focus. Even senior dogs and young puppies can learn any of these tricks.
Give them a frozen Kong – It is my firm belief that every dog should have a Kong. I don’t often recommend putting peanut butter in it as it is fatty and some peanut butter contains xylitol which is toxic to dogs. Some healthier ideas are using plain greek yogurt and putting in the freezer. You can also put treats or kibble in the bottom of the Kong and then fill with yogurt and freeze. This will keep most dogs busy for about a half hour.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pet store if you have questions on this or any pet-related topic.