Some dogs live for winter. As soon as the snow touches the ground, they’re pawing to go outside to make doggy-shaped snow angels. But other pups dread the cold. No way your Chihuahua wants to go out and exercise when you can see your breath in the air. But there are plenty of indoor activities for you and your pooch to enjoy in the chilly winter months, and you don’t even have to put on your boots. Here are a few fun games and activities you can do without setting foot or paw outside.
1. Learn A New Trick
January is National Train Your Dog Month, and it’s a great time to spend those days indoors learning something new. Challenging your dog helps keeps them stimulated, and training can burn off a lot of the excess energy from being cooped up. Even taking time to do a refresher of the basic commands will help with this, and training can strengthen your overall bond with your dog.
2. Play Mini-Fetch
Before you play fetch indoors, there are a lot of things to consider. How big is your dog? Do you have breakable items around? Is your floor carpeted or slippery? If you have a nice, open space in your home, consider making it a play area. Make sure your pup has enough traction and won’t be crashing into walls or any of your belongings. A carpeted area or a place with a rug that won’t slide is preferable. Try throwing the ball gently and only a short distance at first so you can see how it goes before you try going all-out. This game is best for small dogs. My Dachshund doesn’t like spending time outside in the cold, but he absolutely loves running around and playing fetch inside. It’s a great way for him to get the playtime he needs.
3. Hide And Seek
There are plenty of ways to play hide and seek with your dog. Once your dog understands the rules, it can be a challenging and fun game. Using treats or a favorite toy will make it very rewarding for your pooch. Show your dog the reward, then take them into another room while you hide it. Once it’s hidden, let your dog loose. You’ll want to start off easy and put it in an obvious place at first until your dog can get the hang of the game. But this can be a great alternative to fetch that won’t leave your house a mess.
4. Indoor Parkour
Using pillows, couches, beds, or anything you have around the home, you can make a fun obstacle course for your pup to demonstrate their parkour skills. Placing treats or rewards around the course will encourage them to jump and climb. My Yorkshire Terrier is an excellent jumper, but he absolutely loves crawling through small spaces. I make sure his obstacles always guide him under the couch or bed so he feels a sense of accomplishment. It will stimulate your pup both mentally and physically.
5. Follow The Leader
If your dog is already prone to following you around all day, this task won’t be a problem. If your pup lacks motivation, you can try holding a treat or toy. From then on, it’s just like the old follow the leader game you probably played at recess. Just walk around the house. You can speed it up if you like, but be aware of your surroundings and your dog’s limitations. This way you’ll get a workout along with your pooch. Going up and down some stairs can be a workout for both of you!
If all else fails, you can always just keep it simple and stick to the classics like tug-of-war. Get creative and come up with some of your own unique games to share with your dog. It can be your special bonding time. Then when it gets warm out again, you’ll have even more fun outside.
What are some indoor activities you like to do with your dog? Let us know in the comments below!