Providing Enrichment for Dogs in Winter
Fun Ways to Play Indoors
It can be hard to entertain your dog when the winter winds blow and it’s too cold to be outside. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise or enrichment. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to exercise your dog indoors to keep you both happy and content.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to amuse our dogs when the weather gets frightful.
You don’t need anything fancy to enjoy a fun game of hide-and-seek with your dog! This game hasn’t changed since you were a kid; the main goal is having your dog wait while you go and hide. Once you find the perfect spot, call your dog or have a partner tell them to go find you. If your dog is a master at this game, take it to the next level with some Nose Work!
This fun and engaging game gets your dog’s nose working to sniff out treats hidden in boxes. We love this game so much, we’ve written about it before. Got a bunch of empty Amazon boxes laying around? Click here to learn more about nose work and put them to use today!
There couldn’t be an easier way to entertain your dog than giving them a Kong. These versatile toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can withstand even the most vigorous chewers. To extend your dog’s entertainment, don’t just stuff your Kong with treats and give it to them; freeze it first to make it last even longer! Our dogs love it when we stuff their Kongs with mashed bananas or sweet potatoes, peanut butter, or yogurt. Mix in some of their kibble before freezing to make it even more nutritious!
If you haven’t heard about snuffle mats yet, this entertaining toy is made specifically for hiding treats and kibble. They resemble a dense rug made of strips of cloth or felt and encourage your dog to “snuffle around” looking for tasty bits of food to eat. Snuffle mats are available for purchase, but if you’re feeling crafty you can make your own!
Treat or Dog Food Toys
You don’t have to feed your dog from a bowl. Finding fun ways to add interest to their mealtimes can double up as an enrichment activity! Some companies, like Kong, offer food dispensing toys or puzzles that your dog can interact with release food. This not only gives them something to do, but it can slow down overly fast and enthusiastic eaters. Other fun interactive toys, like the Orbee-Tuff Snoop by Planet Dog, conceal treats in ways that encourage your dog to figure out how to release their favorite food reward.
For sociable dogs who love to play with other dogs, doggy daycare can be just the ticket to help break up the monotony of a cold, winter day. Our supervised playgroups not only allow dogs of all temperaments and sizes to have a chance to run and play, but it also provides them with an opportunity to exercise while getting mental stimulation and socialization at the same time.
How do you entertain your dog when you can’t be outside? Tell us in the comments below!