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Indoor Dog Activities to Try This Winter

It might be tempting to spend all winter couch-surfing with your pooch. However, dogs need exercise just as much as they need sleep and cuddles. Beat the cold weather with these indoor dog activities!



When you’re stuck indoors, you may as well get some chores done—and your pup can lend a paw, too! To teach your dog to clean up his toys, you will need a few favorite toys, a basket or box to store them, and some treats. As you’re sitting near the toy box, encourage your dog to pick up one of the toys and bring it to you. Once he arrives at the box, hold a treat directly above the box; this should entice your pup to drop the toy and snag the snack.  Just as he’s dropping the toy, say a command like “clean up” or “tidy up.” Repeat this exercise daily with a consistent command for a smarter, tidier dog! 



Bring out your inner child by challenging your furry friend to a game of hide-and-seek. Have your dog “stay” while you go hide, then shout the “release” command. When he finds you, reward him with a small treat and some praise. When your dog starts to get the hang of it, increase the difficulty by choosing harder hiding places or having somebody else shout the release command.



This is a good game to try if you’ve taught your pooch some basic dog commands. Give him several orders in a row to work on his obedience and keep him active. For example, you can ask him to sit, come, stop, and run in order if he’s been taught those dog commands. Vary the routine and give him praise between reps.



This indoor dog game will help sharpen your pup’s greatest sense: smell! Show your dog his favorite toy and have him sit and stay while you hide it; you can even hide it in plain sight if you’re just starting out. Give him the “find it” command and watch him search for it. As your dog masters the command, make the game harder by hiding the toy in another room or leaving the scent on furniture or walls before hiding it. Your fur kid will have to do some dog-tective work to find the toy!



As if you needed an excuse, a cold day is the perfect opportunity to pamper your pup. Between the harsh, cold air and the dirty slush that comes with winter, your pup’s coat and paws can likely benefit from a warm bath complete with your favorite dog shampoos and conditioners. Depending on your dog’s preferences, you can pick and choose from a host of doggy spa treatments, including a relaxing massage, a head-to-toe brushing session, and nail clipping. 



Stay active with a quick game of doggy steps. Think of it as next-level indoor fetch (literally, next level)! Stand with your pup at the bottom of the steps. Lightly toss a soft ball to the top of the steps and wait for your dog to return it to you. As a variation, you can put your dog on a leash and jog up and down the steps with him. Either way, your fur kid is sure to get a great workout!



If you’re looking to treat your fur kid and get out of the house, an indoor dog park makes a great activity! Find out if there are any indoor off-leash dog parks near you. Your dog will be able to get plenty of exercise and maybe even make a friend! As always, be sure to supervise your dog during playtime.



American Kennel Club


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