Indoor games to play with your dog this winter
As winter trudges on and, both you and your dog are probably less inclined to go outdoors. Just because you’re staying cuddled up indoors, it doesn’t mean you should lose out on playtime.
Indoor games with dogs are great because they keep your dog mentally stimulated when they need to release energy.
If you notice your pooch becoming restless or picking up bad habits like chewing on things they shouldn’t, there are fun dog games that can stop them from acting out of boredom. By playing with your dog a few times a day you can decrease the likelihood of them developing destructive habits.
Tug of war
Games to play with dogs do not have to be complicated. Tug of war is a great game to play with your canine friend because it helps them get exercise indoors, while also teaching them self-control. It’s important to instill a strong command that indicates to your dog to stop playing such as “leave it” or “drop it” if the game becomes too rowdy.
When playing games in the house like this, they should be done on non-slip surfaces to avoid injury. Dogs that play tug of war are often found to be more obedient and have higher confidence levels.
You should also feel comfortable letting them win a few rounds, it won’t make them more dominant. By letting them win, you’re just making the game more fun and encouraging your dog to play for longer. It’s also a good way to establish boundaries with your dog about how physical they are allowed to get.
You can teach a dog new tricks
This might seem like homework for your pup, but teaching your dog new skills, like how to put their toys away, is a great boost of confidence for them.
It gives them amazing mental stimulation and allows you to reward your pooch with positive reinforcement. It’s also a great way to connect with your pet as you learn together.
Just make sure to check in with your dog throughout your teaching to assure they’re not overdoing it and becoming stressed. Take frequent breaks and make sure to keep them hydrated. After all, you’re meant to be having fun!
Fun with food
If you want to treat your dog without encouraging bad habits or overeating, try a treat-dispensing toy. A toy, like the Buster Food Cube which forces your dog to work for their food, can keep them entertained for a while.
You can also consider putting their regular food into a food puzzle to prolong their mealtime. If the toy is new to your pooch, we recommend staying nearby to supervise their interaction with it. That way you can assure they’re using the toy properly and not damaging it.
Hide and seek
The dog-friendly version of this family-favourite game isn’t what you think! To play hide and seek with your puppy, start collecting items with scents they will recognise such as their favourite toy or stuffed animal.
Take them out of the room so you can then start hiding the toys in places for them to find. When you let them back in, tell them to “find it!”
Reward your pooch with a small treat or a quick cuddle whenever they succeed. As far as games to play with dogs indoors go, hide and seek is great because it gives them a tremendous mental workout. As they get better at playing the game, you can increase the difficulty.
Play it enough and your dog will learn the name of specific toys. Then you can start testing them by asking them to find it among their other toys.
When playing fun games with dogs inside, it’s important to establish an end time to your playtime. It’s a good idea to put toys and treat bags away after play sessions to clarify when you are finished playing.
Having a designated place for dog toys when not in use lets your dog know when it’s time to be playful.
Make a doggie play date
Do you have friends or loved ones with a dog of their own? Invite them over! Just because you’re staying indoors during the cold months, doesn’t mean you and your dog can’t be social.
It’s a great way to keep your dog distracted while indoors and they’ll tire each other out by the end of the day. Your pooch will be happy to have another furry friend around and the socialising can minimise any naughty behaviour your dog might get into if they were alone and bored.
In case something happens to your dog while you’re playing together, make sure they’re covered by pet insurance. Visit www.argospetinsurance.co.uk to find out more information about our policies.