Indoor games and activities to keep your dog under control

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By Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Blogger

The weather outside isn’t fit for man or beast but your dog is becoming a furry monster.  What can you do?  Here are some suggestions for indoor games and activities to keep your dog under control.

Play a game of fetch – Toss a ball up or down a set of stairs if your dog is highly active and energetic, and repeat this each time the dog returns the ball to you. A short session of stairwell fetch expends more energy than a trot over level ground, though it’s not an ideal activity for clumsy or accident-prone dogs.

Tug of War– “When played correctly, by your rules, tug-of-war is actually a natural outlet for energy and exercise, and promotes real bonding between you and your dog.”Best Friends professional trainer Lisa Judge (North Plainfield, NJ)

Practice Basic Commands – Does your dog know Sit, Down, and Stay? Add Distance, Duration, and Distractions.

Hide and Seek– This activity requires two people unless the dog already follows a command to “stay.” Instruct the dog to sit and stay or ask someone to keep the dog in place while you find a hiding spot. Call the dog’s name one time to begin its search for you, at which point the other person would release the dog. Praise and rewards upon finding you teaches the dog to repeat the activity. The ASPCA recommends that you leave part of your body visible when hiding, as this helps the dog locate you when first learning the game, and then gradually make it more difficult for the dog to find you.

Find the Treat – Hide multiple treats then allow your dog into the room while encouraging him to find them all.

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Indoor agility– Create an indoor agility course.  Have your dog walk under tables, jump over broomsticks in doorways, climb up and down the stairs, weave around chairs, etc.

Treadmill exercise – Teach your dog how to walk on a treadmill.

Bubbles – Fun to chase!

Inclement weather may stop you from taking your dog outdoors, but indoor games and activities can provide the dog with mental and physical stimulation while you wait for the sunshine to reappear. Games reduce the chance of behavioral problems that stem from pent-up energy and boredom, and indoor dog activities also give you an opportunity to work on obedience training.

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