6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Active Indoors During Winter

Many states in the US are getting hit with very cold temperatures and an abundance of snow this winter. What do you do when Buster can’t get his daily walks, because there is no clearing on the sidewalk and the temps are below zero? Remember that tiring your dog out mentally is just as important as physically.  Here are some tips for tiring your pup out, even when he’s indoors and the snow is above your mailbox outside.

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Image credit: jsmjr via Flickr

1. Play Tug

When played properly, tug is a game of play, not a game of war. Aside from tiring Buster out, it’s a great way to bond with him. Tugging is also a great training tool during high distraction environments, an opportunity to reinforce “that’s enough” (meaning “game over, release the toy”). It’s helped my dog, Gina, tremendously with dog distraction. Tugging has been a way of teaching her that the best things in life happen in reinforcement zone with me, not with the dog running by.

Image credit: tarynskye via Flickr

2. Fetch

Play a game of fetch indoors. Want Buster to burn off even more calories? Stand on top of your stairs, and throw the ball down the stairs for him to chase, and then ask him to bring the ball back to you. Do that a dozen times in a row, and you’ll have a snoozing dog before you can say “Go Fetch.”

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3. Indoor Agility

Sign up for a local indoor agility class. Agility is a team sport in which a human handler directs a dog through a series of obstacles, in a race for speed and accuracy. Dogs love it, and the mental challenges combined with physical activity is the perfect way to tire out Buster. One of the biggest benefits of agility is the incredible emotional bond you’ll grow with your dog.

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4. Food Puzzles

Instead of placing Buster’s food in a bowl, have him slowly work it out of a food puzzle or a kong. Again, it will stimulate him mentally and a nice side benefit is that his food will be more satisfying digested slowly. Want to keep him busier longer? Place his kong in the freezer after stuffing it with peanut butter and banana. He may stay entertained for over 30 minutes.

Zero Tricks

Trainer Dianne Morey teachers Zero balance tricks at Ace Dog Sports.

5. Teach Your Dog Some New Tricks

Teaching tricks is a great way to tire out your dog. And the great thing is that you could do 5 minutes of training every hour, and all of Buster’s thinking will tire him out between training sessions. Need to find new tricks to teach? There are thousands of great tricks on youtube. Do a search for clicker training tricks. You can even teach your dog to wipe his own paws when he comes in from the snow.

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a sport in which a human handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. – See more at: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/agility-right-your-dog/69191#sthash.t9iQxv3P.dpuf
a sport in which a human handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. – See more at: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/agility-right-your-dog/69191#sthash.t9iQxv3P.dpuf
a sport in which a human handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. – See more at: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/agility-right-your-dog/69191#sthash.t9iQxv3P.dpuf

5. Visit a Dog-Friendly Store

Many shopping malls will now allow well-socialized dogs. If you can’t find one in your area, take him to a nearby pet supply store. All all of the sights and smells will keep him engaged and stimulated.

How are you keeping your dogs active this winter? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

Photo Credit of Beardie Roy in weave poles: Dianne Morey

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63 comments

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R3 years ago

Good tips. TY for sharing.

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Barbara D.
Past Member 3 years ago

Live in a four story house! Good for me and good for the puppers....and usually a few cats tagging along too.

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W3 years ago

Keep any dog or cat entertained and they all happy staying indoors.

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W3 years ago

Great tips, thank you for sharing.

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Good ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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H D.
Holly D3 years ago

My poor dog is so bored! The roads are covered with that toxic road salt and Dash refuses to wear booties. I'm just hoping spring comes soon. Maybe we'll try a couple of these ideas. Great article!

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william Miller
william Miller3 years ago

I have a rescue dog that spent the first 3-4 years of its life in a cage and for the life of me I have never been able to teach her a single game. However she is the most loving and protective dog I have ever had. at 16 getting her to be active at all is a struggle

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Joy T.
Joy T3 years ago

Great tips! Thank you!

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Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Good ideas. Adorable pix. Thanks for sharing.

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