Spring means the cold is on its way out and sunshine and summer days are on the way. But it also means something else is on its way, rain and muddy paws. It’s inevitable. Exercising your pup outside in the spring usually comes with a mop and doggy bath time. Alternatively, if you’re a dog owner in the unique position of owning a pup that holds cold, rainy weather in contempt, then you also know how hard it is for your dog to get their much needed exercise. So when the weather stands in your way, play indoors with these indoor dog exercising ideas.
For tips to help keep your home clean when it’s muddy out see: 5 Ways to Battle Muddy Paw Prints
Benefits of Doggy Exercise
Regular playtime is good for your dog and you. It is a great opportunity to reinforce basic obedience, practice commands, and strengthen the relationship between you and your four-legged friend. The American Kennel Club also points out that a mentally stimulated dog is happy dog which is another great benefit!
Here are four indoor exercise games to keep your canine physically – and mentally – on their game:
- 1. Name That Toy
- Gather a selection of your dog’s favorite toys that are noticeably different. For example, a tennis ball, a rope toy, and a stuffed animal. Hold a toy up one at a time for your dog to see and sniff. Build excitement with him and toss it, saying “Where is your ball?” When he returns it, heap on the praise and maybe a small treat. Then do the same with the rope toy and the stuffed animal. Repeat this exercise, being consistent with the toy names, until your pup has mastered it. Then spread out the toys and tell him which one to look for.
- 2. Hide and Seek
- Reinforce your dog’s recall cue with this game. Begin by having your dog stay in a room. Then quietly hide in another room. In an enthusiastic tone, call his name and give a come command. Reward him with praise each time he finds you.
- 3. Hallway Fetch
- Muddy paws no more! Bring the game of fetch indoors. The game is as simple as they come. Stand at one end of a hallway with your dog and toss the ball to the other end of the hallway. Shower him with kudos and the occasional treat when he brings the ball back to you. For senior hounds, tone down the game by rolling the ball down the hall.
- 4. Canine Willpower
- For this game, you will need two different types of treats broken into small bite-sized pieces. The first treat should be your dog’s #1 favorite treat. The second should be a treat he likes, but wouldn’t prefer if given his #1 choice. Hold a piece of the less preferred treat out to your dog and tell him to “leave it”. When he does, praise and reward him with his #1 treat you have hidden in your other hand. Work on building up the time between compliance and rewarding him with the better treat. The goal should be to have him wait at least 30 seconds. Positive reinforcement training will help to achieve this goal.
Next time the weather isn’t cooperating don’t despair, take your dog’s exercise indoors. Keeping them in shape with physical games and just as important mental exercises can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your dog. Soon your dog will be a regular show off.
For our feline friends check out: 3 Indoor Cat Games for Feline Fun