At this time of year some days can be horrible or even dangerous to go outside with your dog and some dogs really don't like bad weather.
So here are a few simple games to play indoors with your dog to give them some exercise and mental stimulation when going outdoors isn't ideal.
A great all round game that almost any dog will enjoy. You can get your dog to find treats or toys or even family members. This will give your dog physical activity, as well as mental, and has the bonus when finding family members of helping to improve recall.
This can be as simple as find something a few steps away, to the other side of the room to all over the house.
The Cup Game
This is another find the food game, but what you do is get 3 or more cups/containers and place a piece of food under one of them, the idea is to get your dog to nose or paw at the correct one. If your dog doesn't have a stay ask someone to hold him while you set up the treat.
Once your dog has the idea start moving the cups around before asking which one the treat is in. this is a great nose work game for dogs and suitable for all ages and breeds
A variation on the cup game this asks your dog which hand the food is in, again you are asking your dog to nose or paw at the hand the treat is in, when he does that he gets the treat. To make this harder get the whole family involved, all turn around hide the treat in one hand only and have your dog search all your hands for one treat.
A common game for many dogs and their owner but don't underestimate the fun this gives dogs. You can also add a bit of training into it by asking your dog to randomly drop the toy or sit before playing again too.
Learning the names of toys
This is a fun game where you teach your dog what name each of his toys have. Start with just one toy and ask your dog to get that, eg get tuggy, once he has the idea swap to another toy eg get pheasant. When he is doing really well put the two in the room and ask him to get one, reward lots when he picks up the right one.
Pick a Trick
I love doing this with my dogs, if your dog knows a few things to start with that can make this game easier but you can also play it with a dog that doesn't it just may take a little more time.
Start by showing your dog a treat and ask him to offer you something. You have a few options here, either wait until your dog does something he knows, pick something you want your dog to do (start easy if you haven't done this before) or wait until he offers a random behaviour that you like.
Wait until he does something towards what you want, tell him good and give a treat. Repeat a few times then ask for more or a better behaviour, before you know it your dog will be trying out lots of things for a treat and you can end up with some awesome fun tricks from it.
This game is great for mental stimulation for dogs. Remember if you haven't done this with your dog before make it easy and keep the session short as you don't want your dog getting frustrated or bored!
If you have been to our classes you will know we love Kongs and feeding puzzles. These are great for giving dogs something to do on their own and making their food more fun. There are many you can choose from, our favourites are classic Kongs and Nina Ottosson games.