The “dog days of summer”, a snowstorm, rainy days, or even smog can prevent us from spending quality outdoor time with our dogs. When that happens, we can be faced with a bored pooch; bored pooches can become irritable, depressed or even destructive!
However, with some forethought and a little effort, your dog can be entertained! In fact, not only will he be entertained, you and he may find fun new activities to look forward to on indoor days.
Below you will find a few activities we engage in. Some were my idea; some were actually created by the dogs themselves!
Hide and Seek
Played like the childhood version, but with dogs instead of other people. I put my dog in a sit/stay, and then sneak away to hide. Once I am in place, I call her and the hunt is on! Start off with simple hiding places, like behind a door, and once your dog has the hang of it, move onto more difficult-to-find places like a closet.
An added “bonus” for one of my former dogs was playing BOO! I waited until she got close, then I jumped out from my hiding place yelling, “Boo!” She then ran off, waiting for me to chase her.
Search & Rescue
We begin this game by playing with one of the dog’s favorite toys. I play catch with her for a few minutes, and then once I know she is really interested in playing with that particular toy, I hide it behind me, under a sofa cushion or blanket, on the other side of a table, etc. I show her my empty hands and tell her I don’t have her baby, she better find it and rescue it. She seeks it out and returns it to me to be hidden again.
This game also works with treats!
You Tube and Television
Like most parents, even doggy parents sometimes let television do the entertaining! My Border Collie got into the habit of hanging out with us while the tv is on, perking up when a dog or other animal is on the screen. However, she quickly loses interest. What does keep her interest is playing one of her favorite movies (Babe, Eight Below, Homeward Bound) or putting on You Tube videos of other Border Collies. Not only is it entertaining to her, we get great laughs watching her watching on-screen dogs!
My dog get freshly cooked meals on a daily basis, but treats are uncommon. On days when she seems bored or need a little pick up, I make fresh dog treats. I invite her into the kitchen and tell her I’m making cookies…she stays right by me, watching every move. Using ingredients such as egg substitute, cooked meats, applesauce, and fresh fruits and vegetables, means she can sample as I prepare. And yes, licking the bowl is allowed!
Let’s Go Shopping!
If we can’t get out for a walk or to the dog park, we can still go for an outing. Dogs love going to “The Puppy Store” to check out what’s new, and more importantly, who else is there or has been there!
Take your dog to a dog-friend’s house or vice versa, or to an indoor play area. Dogs want and need socialization, and you’ll benefit from it, too! Even inviting friends without dogs over can be an exciting opportunity for a dog…someone new to teach their games to and new scents to discover!
Tag, You’re It!
Believe it or not, my dog loves a good game of chase. We switch up who is the chaser and by the end of our game we are all panting and ready for a nap! Our former dog, Gretta, was a pro at tag and loved hiding behind things, or under the curtains as in her photo above.
Teaching your dog a new trick will keep you both occupied and productive on indoor days. Be sure to offer positive praise and reward treats for faster learning!
Snuggle up with your dog or spend some quality time grooming, giving a massage or even encourage them to do some doggy yoga. One of my dogs literally melts when I tell her it’s time for a doggy massage! She loves the muscle relaxation, but also that she gets my undivided attention.
As you see, there are plenty of activities you can do with your dog when your both stuck indoors!
Copyright C.H. Conley, 2012