As this beautiful summer season is drawing to a close, we are having to move a lot of our dog’s play time indoors. I thought I would share some of our favorite play time activities to help your dog get some energy out! I hope these activities will be fun for both of you no matter the season but I think they will come in handy when the rains come! I love living the PNW and sometimes it challenges me to get creative!
*Many of these ideas include the use of treats! Please be careful what treats you are feeding your pup! Just has health-conscious humans steer clear of unnecessary additives and preservatives, you might want to avoid treats full of preservatives and humectants. Soft treats generally contain both. Also, don’t use anything that can’t be broken into smaller pieces. You want to be able to reward frequently without ending up with an obese dog. They have a great variety! I like to use the grain free Turkey Berry Chews from Life’s Abundance for obedience training. Made from high quality real food! You can treat your dog away and not worry!
1. DIY dog puzzles!
Muffin Tin with Tennis Balls: Using a muffin tin, hide a few treats inside each tin cup. Then cover all of the cups with tennis balls and let your dog figure out which tennis balls are hiding a treat underneath!
Extra fun–Freeze Treats: Put your dog’s favorite treat in each compartment of an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water and freeze. Then let your dog lick his way to the center to get the treat out!
2. Teach New Tricks!
Even if you have an older dog! The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not true! Yes you can! It takes a little bit more time and patience but consistency and patience will help your pup learn fun new tricks!
Keep training sessions short–about 15-minutes. But doing a session every day will make a big difference! Dogs love a challenge and they love to learn new things.
If you have a new puppy, start with the basic commands: sit, stay, down, come, etc. Once you have the basic commands down, move on to more advanced tricks: paw, roll over, etc.
This book has excellent ideas for cool tricks to teach your pup! 101 Dog Tricks
You can also sign your dog up for obedience classes–which are normally indoors. This is a great way to socialize your pup and get some fun new tricks!
Get a rope toy and have your dog try and wrestle it from you! This can be a great bonding time as you can play with them in a smaller inside space. If you need a break try Tug-A-Jug! This game is like a creative version of tug-of-war! But rather than your dog tugging on a rope with you or another dog on the other end, there is a jar full of treats on the other end! To get the treat out your dog has to push, pull, and twist the rope around. It can be a bit difficult, helping keep your dog busy for a while!
4. The Kong
I absolutely LOVE the KONG. It’s an iconic red rubber toy that has a place to hide treats. Dog’s love the texture and shape of this toy. My favorite thing to entertain my dogs is to fill it with peanut butter! They will try and lick the inside of it upwards of 20 minutes!!
Another great thing about the classic KONG is that it’s super cheap!
5. Dog Puzzles
Dog puzzles are a great way to help your dog stay stimulated during the cold months. They are similar to the KONG, where you hide treats in something and your dog has to figure out how to get them out. There are easy, medium, and advanced puzzles. So if one puzzle seems too easy for your pooch, you can bump up the challenge with a harder one. Here is a YouTube video for an example:
6. I Fetch
This iFetch is on my wish list! One of my old co-workers has one and I am so jealous! Basically, you teach your dog to drop his tennis ball in the iFetch and it will automatically shoot the ball a few feet away. This can be played with inside with a cleared area to stay warm and dry. Or set it undercover on your porch and let the pup go out while you can watch from the warm indoors!
7. Spa day!
Take this as a time to do your own grooming and bonding time! Give your pup a bath, trim their nails, clean their ears and brush out their hair! It’s also a nice time to give them a fun bandana and do a photo shoot of them!
Check out these great dog care products for your spa day from Life’s Abundance!