photo credit: Almost gotcha via photopin (license)

photo credit: Almost gotcha via photopin (license)

With winter still hanging on in many parts of the country or a wet spring for others, many dog owners and their dogs may be experiencing a bit of cabin fever. As it is either too wet or too cold, or just plain nasty outside, the dog is starting to eye the couch as a good potential chew toy and the owner is having second thoughts about having a dog in the house. Luckily, for all of those who are still house bound, there are many fun and educational ways to interact with your dog until summer hits and you can get back outside.

Here are 10 great ideas that you can do with your dog in the house:

  1. Remember when you were a kid and loved to blow bubbles? Blow bubbles for your dog and see how much fun you both have!
  2. Create an indoor obstacle course with regular household items. A broomstick could be used to jump over, plastic cups or small buckets could be laid out for him to weave thru, and a foot stool could be the pause table. If the dog is small enough, they could crawl under chairs or end tables. Use your imagination to create your own unique course for your dog with what you have in your home.
  3. Provide a toy box for him and then teach him to put his toys away each night. Rotate the toys often to make the toys “new” again.
  4. See how many toys or objects he can learn the name of. Although he may never reach the 1,000 words that Chaser the Border Collie knows, even a few dozen names of toys would be quite impressive!
  5. Teach him to jump thru a child’s hoop. If he is big enough, teach him to jump over a person who is on all fours. Or if it is a little dog,have him jump over your outstretched legs or lie down on the floor on your back or side. Move around and make a game of it!
  6. All dogs have great noses. Teach yours to use his to play hide and seek with either you, the kids, his toys or treats. Use a hallway or rooms with doors to increase the rate of difficulty once he understands the game.
  7. If you have a staircase, use it to give your dog a bit of a work out. If he’s not too big or clumsy, play a short game of fetch with him. You could start out by sitting half way up the staircase, then extending it as he develops his muscles.
  8. If you have a nice long hallway, have him sit-stay on one side of you, roll a ball or toss a toy down the hall on the other side, then have him jump over your legs to get the toy.
  9. If he doesn’t already know how, teach him to fetch the newspaper, your slippers or shoes, or other objects that are easy for him to pick up and carry. Not only is it fun for the dog, it makes life a bit easier for  you!
  10. If your dog likes to dig and you have a place in the basement, laundry room or garage, build him his own “digging” box for him to play in. Put a tarp under it that you can fold up and funnel the dirt back into the box for easy clean up.

Remember to start small when teaching him any of the above ideas. Make sure that he fully understands the game before increasing any level of difficulty.  Also, keep safety in mind.

Don’t be afraid to be silly! Most dogs love it when you are silly and goofing off with them, and both of you will enjoy a good work out that ends with popcorn and a movie.

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