Set up an agility course. Prop a broom between two chairs to make a jump and hung a blanket over our couch and coffee table to make a tunnel. This certainly wouldn’t prepare your dog for any trials, but it will keeps him busy and thinking!
Teach a new trick. Who knows how many tricks your dog will know by the time spring comes!
Play hide and seek. Put your dog in his crate(or his any other spot where he’ll stay and then somewhere in the house. Then yell, “Find me!” My mini Eski loves this game., It gets him to use his nose and to tire himself out dashing around the house.
Stair ball. Obviously this one depends on how your steps are set up to determine if this is a safe game or not. How it works: You sit at the top of a flight of stairs with your dog’s favorite toy or tennis ball. Toss it down the steps, he runs down for it, then brings it back to you at the top. Did you ever have to run stairs in high school gym class? This is an exhausting activity!
Food toys or puzzles. If you have something like a Kong or a Nina Ottosson toy, that works to keep them busy, of course. But you can MacGyver food puzzles. Use overturned cups or – my personal favorite – drop a treat on a blanket and wrap the blanket up so that the treat disappears somewhere on the inside.
Teach touch. Teach your dog to touch his nose to your open palms at the “touch” command. This can be a fun game indoors. Move around to different places in your living room, hold out your hand, then give the command. Hold your hand out at different heights, call from another room, and reward like crazy for fast responses. (Side note: This is a great safety recall since it’s only ever used for fun with lots of rewards!)
Break out a new toy. There’s just something about a new toy… Stash a couple for super cold days, and when your dog seems like he’s getting really, really bored, bust out the new toy to re-energize his playfulness.
Have a doggy friend come over. Now is a good time for that play date that you’ve been meaning to have with the dog who lives next door(or down the street!)
Practice skills – quickly! This is a variation on Rally-O. Instead of teaching a new trick or behavior, have your dog run through what he already knows in quick succession. This will get him thinking! Sit, down, on your bed, stay, come, down, high fave, down, wave, whatever, all right in a row. Be sure to keep the order random and reward, reward, reward!
Snuggle! No, it’s not exactly tiring, but when the weather is cold and gray, there’s nothing better than snuggling under a blanket (in front of the fireplace is preferable!) with your furry friends.
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