We are all feeling the changes that have taken place in the weather over recent years. In many regions, snow can only be dreamt of, while outside the window, wind and rain rule. When the weather does not inspire long walks, we have some suggestions for you on how to play with your dog indoors.
Playing outside with your dog is, of course, a lot of fun, but I’m sure that when it’s windy, raining and just a few degrees centigrade, even your four-legged friend doesn’t feel like it.
You may also be deterred from long walks by illness or other circumstances. No matter what, your pet deserves a good dose of fun and exercise. Fortunately, there is quite a long list of fun activities with your dog that is also perfect for the home.
Dog games are key to a long life for your pet
Animals, just like humans, have needs whose fulfilment improves their quality of life. Daily walks, quality food, and veterinary check-ups – are just some of the responsibilities of a responsible carer. To ensure 100% comfort for the animal, entertainment and playtime, as well as mental stimulation, should also be part of the daily routine.
Regular playtime with your dog indoors and outdoors will keep your pet feeling good and in great physical condition for years to come.
A dog left to itself, if it does not find an outlet for its energy, will quickly become sad. A prolonged state of apathy, on the other hand, can even develop into depression, and you certainly don’t want that for your friend. And did you know that playing with your dog also has a very positive effect on your mental state? Spending time together with your pet makes your body secrete more endorphins or happiness hormones. So make the most of this completely free and hugely enjoyable form of psychotherapy.
And don’t forget that regular play and exercise have a positive effect on your pet’s physical condition. This is especially important in autumn and winter when the weather is not conducive to long walks. Lack of exercise not only influences the formation of excess weight but also diseases. Therefore, when walks become shorter, remember to keep your dog active at home.
Dog games – 8 ideas for a successful day out
Tug-of-war play among some dog guardians has a negative perception. One myth is that this will teach your pet to be aggressive. As in many situations, the devil is in the details, i.e. fitting the toy to your pet and following a few rules.
First of all, match the tug to the size of your dog. A different one will be suitable for a white terrier and a completely different one will interest a German Shepherd – for more on this, see the article How to make a tug for your dog. The tugging should mainly be done by the dog, and the movements when pulling should be horizontal and reasonably smooth. It is important not to tug up and down on the toy, and also not to pull the tug out of the dog at any cost.
Playing with the tug is also ideal as a form of reward for following a command when your dog is not keen on treats or cannot eat too many. On occasion, it can also be used to teach commands such as 'let go’.
The popular treat balls are a shot in the ’10’ when it comes to playing with your dog at home. You will find many different models of such a ball on the market, and some of them hide a maze, which will make it difficult for your pet to release the treat. The game involves your dog rolling the ball in such a way that something delicious falls out through a small opening.
If your pet tends to get fat, fill the ball with some of the dry food for a meal. You can also use it if your dog eats too greedily. In this way, you will achieve two objectives – your pet will eat his meal peacefully and have fun at the same time. The treat ball is also perfect for when you have to leave your dog home alone for a while. This is because it is a toy in which your presence is not necessary.
A fantastic way to spend time together is to learn new commands and tricks or to consolidate previously acquired skills. Such mental training, despite appearances, is extremely exhausting. Although it is a form of play, for a dog, 15 minutes of training is like a long walk.
All basic commands, such as 'sit’ or 'leave’, should be practised with your dog at home first. Training during a walk is usually the final stage of consolidating a command in an environment where there are a lot of distractions.
Visiting another dog
If your dog is well socialised and enjoys playing with other pets during walks, you can organise a social gathering at home. The most important thing is that the dogs know each other beforehand and have a good relationship on neutral ground.
Remember to hide the food bowl and toys before the other four-legged dog arrives. It is crucial to avoid situations that may lead to misunderstandings at the beginning.
Owners of a large flat or house during bad weather can even set up an obstacle course for their four-legged dog. If you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to use this idea. A tunnel, slalom or even a jumping hoop will work great in the home.
Overcoming obstacles will improve your pet’s physical fitness. This form of play with your dog will further strengthen your relationship with your handler and your focus on completing the task. What’s more, you can practice different obstacles interchangeably, so your pet will certainly not suffer from boredom.
Learning to recognise objects
Have you noticed that dogs can remember and associate the names of many objects? If they hear „bring your slippers”, they bring the indicated object and not, for example, a newspaper. This means that in addition to the command 'bring’, they can recognise what you specifically mean. One of the dog’s games, therefore, can be learning to associate a name with an object.
Wondering what benefits this can bring? Well, any playtime with your dog at home combined with exercising the mind will have a positive effect on your four-legged dog and its mental condition.
One of my dog’s favourite activities is guessing in which hand or under which cup a treat is hidden. When the word is uttered to start the game, the excitement reaches a fever pitch. Idefix is no exception among dogs. Many four-legged dogs love all sorts of olfactory games. You can use boxes or cups that you have at home for this.
You will also find many special toys on the market in which a window with a hidden treat opens when you perform a specific action, such as pushing a lever with your nose.
Did you know that you can involve the whole family in dog games? With a game of hiding and seek, for example. Of course, the bigger the flat, the more difficult the tasks for your four-legged dog. Ask the household members to each hide and then one by one start calling the dog. The pet’s task will, of course, be to find all the family members. Don’t forget to reward the pet when it manages to find the person.
This game undoubtedly strengthens your dog’s bond with all members of the household, but it also makes you an attractive object for your pet. This can help during a walk, for example, when you need to distract your dog from another animal.
Did you think you could provide so much entertainment for your dog without leaving the house? There are plenty of ways to keep busy and, as always, it’s all about desire and creativity. How do you entertain your pet when it’s raining outside? Share with us your ideas for indoor dog games!