Entertaining your dog indoors

Does this weather not only put YOU off from taking your dog out but does your DOG not like it either?

Ok, so not many of us actually like the smell of wet dog and I’ve known many dogs who hate the rain, nonetheless using up some energy and engaging their brain is fundamental to having a happy and well-behaved dog. There’s only one thing for it, if you can’t get out as much, make sure you engage your dog more indoors – it’s simples!

Entertaining your dog and using his brain could take the form of games in the house such as hide and seek and games or toys to keep him occupied.

For hide and seek, you need 2 humans and at least 1 dog, with the humans in different parts of the house call your dog and when he finds you tell him what a good boy he is and treat him. When he’s then called by someone else you find yourself a new hiding place. Your dog will love the game but it also has two further benefits; it will help with his general recall skills and it’s also a great way to teach a kid how to play with a dog appropriately.

Another trick - put treats into empty milk/cereal cartons and let your dog expended energy in getting them out, be sure to stay in the vicinity because you don’t want you dog to swallow the packaging too! If it takes them ages - great – it uses lots of physical energy. If they work it out quickly – great – they’ve really engaged their brain.

Splash a little cash and buy your dog a couple of new toys and take his old toys away from him and then keep rotating the toys giving him a different couple each day to play with, just so that he stays interested. I would make sure one of the toys is a dispenser type toy such as treat ball or a Kong.

If you dog isn’t too interested in food you can improve his focus on food by feeding some (or all) of his food in a way that encourages him to forage or seek it out. One suggestion is to feed his food wrapped up in a items such as a towel or tea towel; the dog has to unravel the towel finding small bits of food as he does so. This makes it fun to eat and of course slows his eating down. A dog that loves his food will also benefit from this game.

If you have the time I would encourage you to train your dog ‘Find It’, you would be forgiven for thinking that you can hide food and your dog would automatically find food using his nose, surprising most dogs need to be taught to find it, it doesn’t take long and is very rewarding for both you and your dog. Also use these winter months to brush up on your obedience or trick training. If you’re interested in training email office@itsnotthedog.co.uk or find a local IMDT Qualified Trainer near you.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight you can play these games or train using some of his usual food allowance.

There are lots more ideas on the internet or search 'canine enrichment' on Facebook and join groups. With a bit of thought and planning you’ll make it through and spring will soon be here!

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