Sunday, Feb 3
When Old Man Winter puts a damper on outdoor activity, especially during a polar vortex as many experienced last week, having a few alternatives up your sleeve can help keep your dog entertained while indoors.
Here are 8 activities you can try to bust the boredom.
Seize the opportunity to treat your pup to a little pampering. Give your dog a bath, shower them with love, paint their nails...whatever your dog may enjoy, just give them some extra special attention. Keep it simple. Many dogs enjoy getting brushed, so grab a brush and spend some time helping your dog relax.
If your dogs are anything like mine, they have plenty of toys, many of which they forget about. Rotate their toys out!
This is the perfect time to grab a few toys you may have stashed away, or dig to the bottom of your dog's toy box. Chances are the toys at the bottom of the bin have been forgotten.
Make the most of your time indoors by teaching your dog a new command, or polishing up a command they maybe quite hadn't mastered before.
Positive reinforcement is important! Make sure to reward your pup to reinforce successfully following the command. Rather than loading them up with treats, try using pieces of your dog's kibble!
Exercise their mind AND their body! Grab a tennis ball, a rope toy, or your dog's favorite stuffy, find a spacious area of your house and play fetch.
If you really want to wear them down quick, try using 2 toys to fetch. When your pup brings one back to you, toss the other. I can sit at the end of my hallway and do this with my 2 year old pup for a solid 20 minutes before she crashes.
Test their sniffers by hiding treats around the house and then letting your dog go on a little scavenger hunt. Their nose with lead the way!
Puzzle toys are also a great option to exercise your dog's mind...especially when treats/food are involved. One of my favorites is the Kong Wobbler, which we sell in our retail shop, Wags to Riches.
You can also easily make a puzzle toy with a few things you already likely have around your house. Try using a muffin tin, treats and tennis balls. Hide treats in various cups in the muffin tin, cover all cups with a tennis ball, and then put it down for your dog to figure out where the treats are and how to get to them.
Rubber Kong toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied. They are a go-to toy in my home, and we often utilize Kongs for our shelter dogs. The trick with stuffing a Kong toy is to make it enticing, but also make it a challenge.
At the Humane Society, we stuff Kongs with peanut butter and dog food, then we freeze them. The stuffed Kongs serve as a great source of enrichment for our shelter pups and keeps them busy in their kennels.
Here's a great way to up-cycle something you have laying around your house that isn't of much use any longer.
Jeans with holes, dingy t-shirts, an old sheet, fleece blanket, or worn-out socks are all things that can easily be re-purposed into a toy for your dog.
Cut strips of fabric (jeans, t-shirts, sheets, fleece), tie a knot at one end, then braid the fabric strips and tie at the opposite end to make a tug toy.
Worn-out socks can be tied into knots to make an instant tug toy, or stuff a tennis ball in the end of the sock and tie it off.
SAY CHEESE! Most dog owners agree - you can never have too many pictures of your furry best friend. Grab your phone or your camera and stage a fun little photo shoot for your dog. Test out some lighting techniques, catch your dog at different angles, or use some fun props.
Turn the camera on both of you and take some silly selfies together. Whatever the outcome of your photo shoot may be, you are capturing memories that you can hold on to for the long haul.
This one is my personal favorite. Often in life, it seems like there's never enough time to completely cross off our 'to-do' list. We are always on the run, multi-tasking, and overwhelming ourselves with responsibility. Over the years, I've learned that taking some quiet time to relax is just as important as getting the laundry done.
So take advantage of being snowed in, and spend some quiet time simply cuddling, or relaxing with your dog. We truly underestimate how therapeutic and mutually beneficial relaxing with your pet really can be.
Our pets are only with us for a short time, so you should never feel guilty about spending some quality time with your BFF (best furry friend) relaxing.