Updated: Sep 12
We've all been there. Its dumping rain or windy and the dog is driving us nuts but we simply do NOT want to go outside. Its a common misconception by pet parents that a walk is the only or best way to exercise their dog. In reality mental stimulation can be just as effective at tiring our pooches out! (No I'm not saying your dog never needs physical exercise, I'm saying mixing physical and mental exercises will serve them better in the long run) Ok, so what the heck can we do indoors to stop the madness?! Quite a few things!
Ill start with the obvious, Kongs. I LOVE Kongs and suggest them to everyone. However a word of caution; they are not indestructible. I have had very good luck with the black ones that are supposed to be tougher than the red ones, but I have heard of dogs destroying the red ones as well as knock off brands. Inspect your Kongs and if you are seeing small chunks start missing toss it. Also make sure to clean them! They can be put in the dishwasher, if you don't have one like me you can use a baby bottle brush to get in there. There are TONS of recipes online and they are even better when frozen.
They also now make treat puzzle games for dogs. Again these are an item you want to be in the room with them for as some dogs will just break them open to get to the treats. I find if I help them a little to find one or two they do better at using it how they are supposed to and not breaking it.
Nosework! My very favorite (Though as an instructor in training for the National Association of Canine Scent Work I may be bias lol) and an endless array of options! You can play the cup game, hiding a treat under a cup and making them find it. Use a snuffle mat (A mat with fleece pieces tied to it where you hide food in it and the dog finds it) for added fun. Again, supervision is key so they don't ingest anything but the treats. We offer Nosework classes to teach you how to play these valuable games with your dogs.
Bubbles! Dogs actually love chasing bubbles and it's a fun easy thing for them to do. Just make sure they're the ones made for dogs or kids, not ones you made yourself as the ones for dogs and kids are non toxic.
Training! Ok, again, bias; BUT if you're looking for something to do with your dog anyway why not get some training in? You can come up with fun indoor agility stuff, free shaping trick behaviors, or just work on anything. They will still get tired, trust me!
Hide and Seek! My dogs LOVE this game. I swear my German Shorthair could've been grand champion at this game as a puppy. Plus depending on the size of your house it can be some exercise for you too ;)
It can also be helpful to have two sets of toys for your dog. We did this for our GSP and it works well. We have 2 milk crates full of toys, and every so often we gather up all the toys from one and put them away in the closet and bring out the other milk crate. Same toys shes had, but they have new interest as they've been "gone" awhile.
Be creative! And of course if you're really stuck call us, we can come pick your dog up for a day of day training and return them tired and happy.
For the Dogs,