I always get excited when the forecast calls for snow! Snowmen to build, tunnels to dig and snowballs to throw all add up to big fun for my intrepid Parson Russell Terrier, Molly, and me. However, too much of a good thing isn’t always so good.
One morning, I was shocked to open my door to find more than 3 feet of snow! Molly dashed outside, diving off the porch into a sea of fluffy white snow. She completely disappeared, then surfaced, trying to doggie paddle her way out.
It appeared that 42 inches of snow was too much for my 12-inch dog! Because she requires a lot of exercise, I knew she would soon be whining from boredom if I didn’t think of some way to keep her entertained indoors. And no matter what your dog thinks of snow (or how tall he is!), there will be days when the weather restricts your outside access. That’s why it is good to have some indoor games at the ready.
Playing games with your dog exercises his body and brain, while relieving boredom for you and him. While having fun, your dog uses creative thinking and develops better attention skills. Spending time with your dog also deepens the bond between the two of you.
Let the Games Begin
Never fear; indoor games are here to keep you and your dog happy on a bad winter weather day.
Fetch. A fun game of fetch helps keep the edge off of an energetic dog that is stuck in the house. Carpeted hallways or basements usually provide enough room for fetch. If your stairs are carpeted, have your dog run down to fetch and up to return the ball. Be sure to ask your parents for permission first, and be careful. You don’t want to break anything!
Four-legged soccer. Take a large ball that your dog can’t pick up in his mouth. Soccer balls, basketballs or even large tennis balls made for dogs work for this game. Roll the ball, and see if your dog will try pushing it along with his nose or paws. Most dogs quickly catch on that the object of the game is to move the ball to you; because they can’t pick it up, they will use their nose to nudge it along.
Hide-and-seek. This game has endless variations, enough to keep you busy on a cold snowy day. Ask your dog to wait or stay, or have another person hold him while you hide. Start out where your dog can see you, and ask him to find you. Have plenty of tasty treats on hand at first. Once he has the idea, hide out of sight. Now the fun will begin as he waits downstairs while you find a hiding place. Once your dog has the concept of find, you can begin hiding his favorite toys. Molly loves her big tennis ball, and we almost always begin a play session with her having to find her ball somewhere in the house.
Tennis ball wrap. Get an old beach towel, and cover up a tennis ball. Ask your dog to get the ball. When he understands that the ball is under the towel, take the ball and roll it up in the towel. Ask him again to get the ball. Once that is quickly undone, tie the towel in a knot. Molly shakes it, rolls on top of the towel, digs it and sometimes drags it to me for help in releasing the ball.