We’ve been having some really cold temperatures in the Northeast, so I’ve pulled out some of my indoor games to keep the dogs stimulated and entertained when we can’t go for our normal long walks.
Ask your dogs to hide in another room while you scatter kibble or cookies around the living room and dining room. Have some in obvious places and others tucked next to chair legs or in corners. Let the dogs into the room and invite them to “Find the Cookies”. They might find them all in about 5 minutes, but they’ll spend the next 15 minutes making sure they didn’t miss anything!
Take 3-5 empty cream cheese or yogurt containers, put them upside down on a smooth floor, like in the kitchen, and show your dog that you’re hiding a small cookie under each. Encourage the dog to “find the cookie”. The first one might take a while, but if you help and they figure out the reward, it’s a great game that’s almost as tiring as a good walk. As they get the knack of it, re-fill emptied containers while they are busy uncovering one of the others.
Get a muffin tin and enough tennis balls to fill each cup in the muffin tin. Load the muffin tin with a yummy treat in the bottom of each muffin cup. Then place a tennis ball in each cup on top of the treat. Place the prepared muffin tin on the floor and encourage your dog to “Find the Cookie”. You might have to help them out the first time or two, but they will eventually figure out that moving or removing the balls gets them the treats. Some dogs get so excited by the smell of the treat that they don’t think about simply picking up the ball to get to the treat. A great exercise for making your dog have to work at getting the treats.
Do a little furniture re-arranging and you’d be surprised how fast you can set up a modified agility course in the house. Use chairs spaced evenly apart to simulate the weave pole exercise. Position a small area rug to practice the down or sit stay. Drape a sheet over a coffee table to create a tunnel and use a yard stick or hula hoop as a jump.