In an ideal world, we would all live on huge parcels of land with plenty of space for our four-legged family members to run and play. For those of us who live in reality, however, it is sometimes necessary to find indoor activities that will keep our dogs active and healthy.
I, for example, live in Houston, Texas, where searing heat keeps us indoors several months out of the year. While we might spend a few minutes at a time in the yard, it just isn't practical to throw the Frisbee for hours under the glare of the Texas sun. For others, frigid winter air keeps pups indoors for much of the winter.
In my experience, hallways are excellent places for indoor activities with dogs. Hallways usually feature no accessible windows and fewer places for balls or discs to roll beyond easy reach. They keep the game to a confined area, which makes it easier on both canines and humans.
For the best results, stand at one end of the hallway with all doors closed. Throw your chosen toy to the opposite end of the hallway for your dog to fetch, then let him or her bring it back to you. The hallway is an especially handy tool if you are teaching your dog how to retrieve and return because they can't run all over the house once they have caught their prize. You'll also be less likely to break anything valuable.
Hide and Seek
Your dog has an excellent sense of smell, and he enjoys a challenge. Hide and seek can be played with toys, treats, or even human beings, depending on your mood. It usually requires two people in addition to the dog: one to hide (or to hide an object) and another to keep the animal busy in the meantime. Once the person or thing is safely out of sight, give your dog the command to "seek" or "find."
To start with, you might want to give your furry pal a little assistance with the seeking. You can either hide in plain sight, or you can walk with your dog until you find the target of your search. It won't take him long to figure out the game.
Dog trainer Cesar Millan's website suggests using a laser pointer to keep your dog active indoors. Clear a large, flat space in one room of your house, then point the laser at the floor. Move it around while your dog attempts to "capture" the beam of light. Once he arrives at that spot, move it to another point on the floor.
Where's the Treat?
You might also take inspiration from human games. Consider the three-cups routine performed by many magicians. Turn three cups upside down on the floor and hide a treat beneath one of them. Move the cups around on the floor a few times, then give your dog a command to find the one with the treat underneath. When he noses the correct bowl, he gets the treat.
When searching for indoor activities for your dog, think of educational as well as physically active games. Keeping your dog's mind engaged is just as important as maintaining his physique, and you might find you come away with a smarter, more obedient pup.Content by Steve Thompson.
- Hobbies & Personal Activities