Indoor games are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated.
Playing games with your dog provides vital mental stimulation. Games that could cause your dog to become excited should be played on non-slip surfaces to avoid injury. It is a good idea to put toys and treat bags away after your play session, ending with a nice ‘finish’ cue for your dog so that they understand the game is over.
How to play with treats:
- Show your dog that you have a piece of food/treat in your hand;
- Say ‘find it!’ and then throw the piece of food/treat across the floor;
- To make it more challenging, you can hide treats behind furniture or even in another room (think easter egg hunt);
- You can also play this game with toys if your dog is more toy orientated.
REMEMBER: Take treats out of your dogs daily food allowance, to prevent your dog becoming overweight.
How to play with people:
- Whilst one person goes to hide, the other will keep the dog distracted;
- When the other person is hidden, the person with the dog will say ‘find’ and then say the person’s name i.e. ‘find Emily!’
- When your dog finds you, be sure to make a big fuss over them!
- Keep this simple to begin with, hiding in obvious places where they can see you.
- When they approach you, give them lots of attention and repeat the exercise.
- You can increase the difficulty as your dog gets used to the game.
- Play with soft toys which don’t bounce and play on carpet to avoid your dog from slipping.
Tug of War
- For those dogs that love a game of tug, this can be a great way of not only exercising them indoors, but also teaching them self-control.
Tag! You’re It
This is a great game to burn some energy and practice recall, but you will need two people.
- Start across the room from one another.
- One person calls the dog and rewards them with a treat, then the next person calls and rewards.
- Get further back so that soon you are calling from different rooms, and then from all the way across the house.
- To maximize exercise and minimize food intake, once the game is going and your dog is excited, you can replace food with praise as a reward.
Fun with food
- Instead of using your dog’s normal food bowl, think about using a Kong, food puzzle, snuffle mat, activity ball or even the garden to keep them entertained.
Fun with toys
- You can teach your dog the names of their toys by starting with one of their favourite toys and giving it a name.
- Once you have a name for that toy, you just have to say it every time you pick it up and begin play with your dog.
- Then, using the ‘find it!’ game technique, ask your dog to find said toy and praise them for it when they bring it back.
- Training your dog is a great way to keep them mentally stimulated and is a fantastic way of bonding with your pooch.
- On a day that you are unable to go out, it can make the difference between your dog being bored and looking for entertainment elsewhere and feeling happy to relax inside.
- Ensure you have plenty of treats and most importantly, keep training fun.