As we move into fall, it is likely that your dog will be spending more time indoors. Don't want your dog destroying your home and belongings due to boredom? Here are ten activities to engage your dog's body and mind.
1. Brush Up on the Basics. Make sure that your dog knows the following basic commands: sit, stay, down, drop it or leave it, and come.
2. Interactive Dog Toys. Filling a Kong with treats inside will keep your dog entertained for quite a while. You can also make your own interactive dog toys. Some dogs enjoy chasing ice cubes on the linoleum floor.
3. Teach Your Dog to Clean Up Toys. Make sure your dog knows the "drop it" command. Have your dog pick up a toy. Stand by the toy basket and call your dog to you. Give the "drop it" command while pointing to the basket. When your dog drops the toy in the basket, give big praise. Repeat to reinforce the learning.
4. Play Tug of War. You can use commercial dog toys or make your own by braiding the arms of an old sweatshirt or tying a knot in an old sock. Again, make sure your dog know "drop it" or 'leave it." This is Bingo's favorite game.
5. Alternate Dog Toys. Dogs can get bored with the same toys. Only leave out a few toys in the toy basket, then swap them out with older toys in a week to keep your dog engaged. Playing Fetch with old toys makes them fun again.
6. Play Hide and Seek. Give the "sit" command. Leave the room. Call to your dog and praise it lavishly when you're found. I used to play this with my cat!
7. Make Your Own Obstacle Course. You can create your own simple obstacle course by having your dog jump over folded towels, navigate and weave its way through old toys, pick up toilet paper tubes and drop them into a box and finally lie down on its towel or mat. You can create more difficult tasks once these are mastered.
8. Play Tag with Your Dog. Two humans with treats sit across the room from each other. One person calls the dog over and give it a treat. The other person then calls the dog over and gives it a treat. This may sound simplistic, but your dog will LOVE it!
9. Chase the Bubbles Game. You can buy pet bubble making toys or buy a non-toxic bottle of bubbles made for kids. Blow bubbles from a soapy wand and let your dog catch them. Highly entertaining for you to watch!
10. Grooming/Belly Rubbing/Snuggle Time. Dogs love to have your undivided attention as you groom, rub and cuddle with them. If you do it regularly, your dog will expect it at the same time every day or night. When Baily puts herself to bed at night, Bingo heads for the toy basket in the family room and shakes a toy in my face, challenging me to play Tug of War with him.
There you have it - 10 great tips to entertain your dog indoors. Do you have a way to keep your pooch happy? Let us all in on your secret by posting a comment.
Jane Hoffmann is a retired middle school teacher, professional soprano soloist and author of 31 books for teachers to use in their classrooms, as well as a devoted dog mom for over 20 years.