"Properly trained, man can be a dog's best friend" ~ Corey Ford
After several days with rain, snow and cold wind, I think it is safe to say that fall is here and soon winter too...which of course can mean anything from dry heat, to rain to heavy snowfall - all within one day (which is one of the many reasons I love Montana).
This change in weather also often means, that we take our dogs out less. However, with less physical exercise, it is even more important that we keep up - or even increase - the indoor activities. If not, you might be coming home to chewed up shoes, curtains on the floor and new bite marks in your wooden furniture...just saying !!
So to save you the frustration of buying a new coffee table, I have decided to write down a few fun indoor games and activities for your and your dog.
Enjoy and remember to always have fun with it.
The Three Cup Game
One step up from the which hand game this game is also commonly referred to as the shell game. You place a treat under one of 3 cups and have your dog choose the correct one. Once they get the hang of it you can start mixing up the cups so they’re not just relying on visuals.
Play Hide and Seek With Your Dog
Have your dog sit and wait while you (or your child) go find a hiding spot. Call your dog once when you’re hidden and praise them enthusiastically when they find you.
Make a Scavenger Hunt or Play Find The Treats
Grab some smelly treats and have your dog stay while you go hide them around the house. Start with some easy hiding spots first - maybe just a few feet away, to help encourage your dog to "Find them". Slowly work your way up to more difficult hiding places, once your dog is accustomed to using his nose and understand the concept of this new fun game.
Get Some Puzzle Toys For Your Dog
Keep your dog mentally stimulated by giving them a puzzle to solve. There are a ton of dog puzzle toys available, as well as treat dispensing toys like the Kong Wobbler. (see my old dog enjoy his Kong Wobbler here )
There’s also a ton of great DIY toys out there you can make. I love the simple muffin tin game – if you have a muffin tin and some tennis balls you’re ready to play.
Teach Your Dog the “Go To Mat” Command
Does your dog know how to go to the couch or to his mat This trick is simple to teach and it’s helpful when you’re making dinner or having guests over. If you tell your dog to go to his spot while you’re making dinner enough times it will become a habit. No dog in the kitchen while cooking means you won’t be finding dog hair in your dinner as often. Please see this video by Nancy Tanner, Paws&People explaining how to teach your dog "Go to Mat"
Teach Your Dog The Names of Their Toys
Have you seen Chaser the Border Collie? She knows over 1,000 words and can pick out any given toy among 800 just by it’s name. We can’t all be overachievers like Chaser, but we can teach our dogs the names of their toys.
Start by playing with one specific toy and giving it a name while you do. After some practice & praise your dog will assign that verbal name with the chosen toy . Once your dog has learned that specific toys name you can test their skills by seeing if they can pick it out among their other toys.
Puppy Push Ups
Teach your dog to sit, down and stand. You can now play "Puppy Push Up" going from stand, to sit, to down, to sit, to down, to stand and so on. Make sure to change the order of the behaviors so your dog can't guess what comes next.
See this video I made with Blue at the Yellowstone Valley Animal shelter
Teach your dog a new trick
Most dogs love to learn new tricks. And not only will you teach them a new skill, but also giving your dog a positive and focused interaction with you , which is a great added bonus. Plus , most dogs love to show off their tricks, so make sure to show it to friends and family. This YouTube channel is filled with fun tricks video that will ensure hours of fun for you and your dog.
I hope this will give you some great ideas for hours of indoor fun. Remember, if you are running out of ideas, you can always sign up for a class or a private session to keep you and your dog going.
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As a dog trainer and animal lover, my wish is to help educate the owners, so they can have a harmonious relationship with the animal(s) in their lives. A relationship based on knowledge, trust and respect.
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