Most of us have been dealing with a challenging winter. Plenty of snow and way too cold to spend any significant amount of time outside. We are all feeling the stress from it. Our dogs are feeling the stress too. We are seeing more naughty and mischievous behavior than usual.
When we can’t break free from the cold and get outside, it is important to find healthy mental activities to keep our dogs entertained. One of assistant trainers and daycare providers here at That’s My Dog! wanted to share a few tips to help you get Fido through these final weeks of winter.
Curing Cabin Fever – by Amanda Teutschmann
I am willing to bet that your four-legged buddy is getting as tired of being stuck indoors due to the weather as you are. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about the weather, but we do have some activities that you can do with your dog to help keep them entertained on these long, cold days!
There are games that you can play with your dog that are safe to play in the house. A great example of this is Red-Light Green-Light. This game not only exercises your dog physically, but it is also a great mental stimulant. The idea of the game is to be having your dog really engaged and moving with a toy (green-light) and then on your command (sit, down, place) they have to stop playing with the toy and be stationary (red-light). The game is all based on speed; the faster your dog gets into a stationary command, the quicker you let them break and be reengaged with the toy. If it takes them some time to get into the command, you make them hold it for some time. Once you allow your dog to break and they become reengaged, you let them play with the toy again until you give them another stationary command.
Another great way to keep your dog entertained during the rest of these dreary months indoors is to teach them something new! Teach them how to place on a rug, blanket or some other challenging object and hold it for a length of time. Teach them a new trick such as holding a treat on their nose or ‘sitting pretty’. Or, you could make them use their nose and hide some food or their favorite toy somewhere in the house and make them find it.
Raw marrow bones and chew toys are also great ways to keep your dog entertained. If your dog is underfoot and in need of some activity, have them hold their place with a marrow bone, peanut butter Kong or Nylabone. Not only will it keep your dog busy, but it will also help them be able to focus on holding their place for a longer period of time, which will help them become mentally stimulated and tired.
I hope that some of these ideas not only help alleviate your dog’s cabin fever, but that they brighten your day as well by giving you fun, structured activities that you and your four-legged buddy can enjoy together!