Winter is officially here, which means the temperatures will be dropping (if they haven’t already where you are!) and the days will be getting shorter and shorter. This creates the perfect scene to wrap up in a blanket, drink a mug of hot chocolate, and stay on the couch all day. While this might seem like the perfect winter day for you, most dogs would go absolutely stir crazy if they had to sit on the couch all day! For those days where you really don’t feel like standing outside in the cold to play a game of fetch with your dog or almost slipping on ice as you try to go for a walk around the neighborhood, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ways to keep your dog busy and entertained this winter. This way you’ll both be able to get a good night’s sleep!
Try Some Training
Giving your dog a mental workout is just as good for burning off some energy as a physical workout! Whether your dog is a beginner or a seasoned pro with training, there is always new commands and tricks to learn. Start with the basics like sit, stay, come, and move on to some more advanced tricks like shake and roll over. Has your dog already mastered those? Try some more advanced tricks, like closing a door or drawer, leg weaving, or jumping through your arms.
Play Hide and Seek
This activity is both a mental and a physical workout, perfect for pups with a lot of pent up energy. Simply take your dog’s favorite toy or treat and hide it somewhere in the house, and then encourage him to go find it. You can play this game for hours on end, and it’s sure to be a fun time for everyone! You can even try to teach your dog the command “find it” while playing this game, and the next time you’re searching for the toy that your dog has hidden somewhere in the house, he’ll be able to bring it to you in no time!
Play the Cup Game
You know the game. The one where you have three cups, put a treat under one of them, and shuffle them around. See if your dog is smart enough to guess which cup has the treat under it! You can start off with a few switches of the cups and work your way up to some more complex shuffling of cups. Once fido catches on, you can have plenty of fun with this game!
Use Treat Toys
If you’re really not feeling like getting off the couch, give your dog a treat toy. Whether it’s a peanut butter stuffed KONG or a ball that releases treats as your dog rolls it across the floor, treat toys are a great way to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated without much work on your part. Pro tip: if you want a stuffable toy to last longer, try putting it in the freezer before you give it to your dog.
Even if it’s cold outside, you can still play a game of fetch with your dog! If you have a hallway, that’s perfect, or if not, you can always rearrange some furniture or get creative with your space. Make sure there are no breakable objects nearby like a lamp or vase, and use a lightweight ball or toy so that you don’t accidentally knock anything over. It might take a bit more time to get your dog tired out from a game of fetch like this, but eventually he’ll be exhausted and ready to take a nap!
Pamper Your Pup
If you’re looking for a more relaxing activity to do with your dog, you can try some grooming, like brushing your dog. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can also try giving him a bath. Is your dog not a fan of grooming? You can try giving your dog a massage instead! This will calm your dog, relieve stress and anxiety, and strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Massages are great for older dogs, too, as they can help relieve joint pain and arthritis pain. If you’re not sure how to give your dog a massage, you can look it up online and you’ll find tons of tutorials and instructions that you can follow.
Create a Doggy Obstacle Course
If you’re feeling extra creative, you can create an obstacle course for your dog out of items you have in your house. Weaving in between chairs, going under the table, or jumping over a rolled-up towel are all great options. The sky’s the limit when it comes to this activity and the combinations of obstacles are endless, so this is great if you have a dog that’s extremely energetic!
Make DIY Dog Toys
What dog doesn’t love a new toy? If you have some spare time, you can make homemade dog toys out of old shirts or towels. Braid them into a rope and you have a brand new toy for tug-of-war or fetch!