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10 ways to keep your dog entertained indoors

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Christmas was particularly special this year as it was Thai’s first Christmas with us.  

Thai had absolutely not a scoobie what a toy was when she first got here and is still learning how to “play” properly.  All the more reason it’s been lovely to see her play with a “fuzzy” ball she got over Christmas, as well as trying to figure out the tennis ball / muffin tray game (see photo).  In fact, to begin with, she was less interested in the treat under the ball and kept running off with the balls to hide them somewhere.  

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Keep your dog entertained indoors

During the winter months it’s not always as easy to keep your dog exercised outdoors. Keeping them entertained indoors, or even thinking about new things to do, can be a challenge.   Here’s a list of our 10 favourite ideas to keep your dog entertained indoors. 

Find the treat

Get some of their favourite treats and let them see you while you hide them around the room.  Once you’ve hidden all treats, give your dog the command to go and find them around the room.   Praise them every time they find a treat.  Once they understand the command to “go find”, you can make the game a bit more challenging for them by hiding treats in other rooms. 

Teach them the “Shell” game

The Shell game is a simple problem solving game for your dog but great for  their mental stimulation.  Place a treat under one of three cups (let them see which one), before mixing up the cups and letting them guess what cup holds the treat.  This may take some practice.  Our two are pretty useless at playing this and keep us entertained instead!  
Check out the video below for a dog that knows how to play it properly. 
 

 

The Kong is King!

An absolutely fantastic boredom buster is the Kong.  They are pretty much indestructible, non-toxic and dishwasher proof.  What’s not to love?  Filled with your dog’s favourite treats they will keep them happy for quite some time.  To keep them entertained even longer, freeze the Kong before giving it to them.  Puppies who have not had a Kong before may get frustrated if they can’t get to their treat.  You may want to introduce them slowly and make it a bit easier for them – you don’t want them to give up on this great boredom buster before they’ve started.  

Make them work for their dinner

Most dogs have a cushy life, with dinner literally served to them on a plate.  However, dogs love a challenge to get their mental stimulation.  One of the easiest ways is to get them to do some simple tricks before giving them their food.  Sit, paw, stay – just a few simple commands before handing over their food or treat.  I wonder if this works for husbands and children ..

Teach your dog a new trick (yes, even the old ones!)

If you’ve not used a clicker before, I recommend you get one on your next trip to the pet shop.   Clicker training is a great tool for teaching your dog any new commands.   With a dog, every second counts.   When verbally praising them “good dog”, it’s easy to miss the exact moment your dog obeyed your command.  With a clicker, you can pinpoint the moment they performed the right action.   

Hide and seek

If your dog knows the “stay” command, get them to stay in the room while you go off and hide somewhere else.   If your dog is reluctant to let you out of their sight, you may need another person to play this game.  
Some dogs are better at this game than others (see video below).  I’m just pleased our two dogs are not the only ones who can be useless at playing games! 
 

Puzzle toys for dogs

Giving your dog a puzzle to resolve will give them great mental stimulation. For an easy DIY game check this out – if you’ve got a muffin tray, tennis balls and treats you’re good to go!

Alternatively there are some fantastic products on the market suitable for every budget.  Having a variety of different games to hand is great if you need to leave your dog for a few hours every once in a while.  From experience, be mindful playing games with more than one dog, just in case they end up fighting over the treats. 

See below for some great products to keep your dog entertained. 

Give them a massage

Now, I know what you may be thinking, but bear with me!  Giving a dog a massage is a lovely experience for both dog and owner.  In fact, older dogs with arthritis have great benefits from having a massage which helps with painful joints.  And let’s be honest: who doesn’t want a chilled out, relaxed dog?  Check out the video below for techniques.  And check out the smile on the dog’s face (3:50) – They’re loving it!

 

Blow bubbles

Most dogs love chasing bubbles and have a fascination with chasing them.  Please make sure you have the non-toxic bubble mix to avoid any hazard to your dog. 

And if you’ve got a small child at home, this may be the perfect mix to entertaining both of them!

Make a brand new toy

What better way of having a clear out of old clothes, and creating a brand new toy for your dog at the same time?  Check out this video for some great tips of how to use old jeans, shirts or fleece to create a great toy for your furry friend.  And if you’re having a real spring clean clear out, you can even donate some to your local rescue centre.  

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