Are you finding yourself mostly stuck inside during these crazy Covid-19 times? Along with your active pup who needs lots of physical and mental stimulation? And he’s about to drive you nuts because he’s under-stimulated?
Then I invite you to read on to find some inspiration as far as entertaining your pups inside is concerned! I came up with the following 10 ideas a while ago when I was looking for ways to physically and mentally stimulate my Boxer mixes Missy & Buzz when it was crappy outside.
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Now that this novel Coronavirus has been turning our world upside down, I currently apply all 10 ideas with my new pup Wally. The only exception is that I still take him on daily walks around my neighborhood.
However, we do practice social distancing and make sure that we walk on the opposite side of the road whenever there’s oncoming doggie traffic! The other day we even found a good luck penny while out walking – we’re interpreting it as a good sign!
1. Playing A Game of Hide & Seek With My Dog
This game is one of our favorites! I’ll put the pups in a down or sit-stay in their respective crates with open doors, hide myself somewhere in my home (bath tub, shower stall, inside a closet, behind a couch, etc.), then call the pups by telling them “Come find Mommy!”.
It’s an awesome boredom buster because it really engages them on a mental level AND we get to practice some obedience all at once. They have to use their noses in order to find me, and get rewarded with a tasty treat and verbal praise once they do.
We typically do 5-10 consecutive hide & seek sessions which is plenty to leave the pups relaxed & calm for about an hour or two!
2. Playing A Game of “Find The Treat/Toy”
This game is essentially a different version of the “Hide & Seek” one, except that I’m not part of the hiding equation. I’ll either show the pups a toy which I will then hide & ask them to go find (again engages their noses), or I’ll hide some high-value treats.
You can really get creative with your hiding spots and use cardboard boxes, upside down food bowls, towels, or just different areas of your place.
3. Working On Some Dog Tricks/Basic Obedience
Trick & obedience training sessions can easily be incorporated into a crappy day. I like to practice basic obedience commands such as sit, down, stay, & come. Working with an open front door and ringing the door bell takes it up a notch, and challenges the pups a little more.
I find that keeping training sessions fun & short has the best outcome and will incorporate 4- 5 sessions each 5-10 minutes in length.
4. Throwing The Ball Inside
Buzz is my ball-crazy boy and is used to playing fetch with his chuck-it balls every single day in my backyard. On those crappy days, I incorporate ball time inside by throwing it down a hallway as well as up & downstairs. That way, he still gets to stretch his legs and gets his ball-fix 😉
5. Walking Up & Down The Stairs Together With My Dog
The stairs keep us fit when we can’t go for our usual walks outside. Going up and down 10-20 times in a row will get your heart pumping a little and make you feel great afterwards!
6. Grooming The Pups
What better time to groom your pups than on those days when you’re forced to stay inside? Brushing will keep their coats looking nice by stimulating blood flow and allowing natural oils to circulate. You can also trim your pup’s nails – ideally when he’s calm, such as after having exercised a little.
7. Offering Puzzle Toys Like A Filled KONG Toy
Missy, Buzz & Wally LOVE their hollow KONG dog toys because they never know what Mommy will fill them with. I love them because they are made of natural, non-toxic rubber that is safe to wash on the top rack in the dishwasher.
Sometimes it’ll be just their regular raw dog food, other times I’ll whip up a mix of yogurt, dehydrated or air-dried treats, and also add some fruit or veggies.
If I think ahead of time, I’ll put the filled KONGs in the freezer for a few hours before letting the pups have them – that way, they’ll last much longer!
8. Chewing Fun With A Bully Stick
Chewing comes naturally to all dogs and the pups thoroughly enjoy it. I got rid of the pups’ antler collection several years ago after Buzz broke one of his molars on a hard, recreational beef bone, and now give the pups bully sticks instead.
They’re dehydrated bull penises in case you were wondering. They are 100% edible and there is no chance in hell they’ll break a precious dog tooth.
9. Indoor Doggie Agility
I bought the blue indoor agility tunnel you can see in above picture in 2012 when Missy & Buzz were about 6 months old. It was part of my socialization program – all I had to do to get the pups to walk through it was to throw some treats and kibble into it (back then I fed kibble, now I feed raw dog food), and that was it! It cost me about $30 and has been holding up quite nicely!
10. Cuddling Together On The Couch
I am not going to lie – couch cuddle time with the pups is one of my favorite things to do, especially on crappy days when you can see the rain or snowstorm through the windows, yet feel comfy & cozy thanks to warm pups & a blanket!
What are your go-to indoor activities on crappy days? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!