Putting the ‘E’ in Entertainment and Enrichment Indoors for Your Dog

In this blog, Arden will share ways to channel your dog’s pent-up energy indoors!

When the weather turns rainy, cold or plain nasty, you need a game plan to constructively deal with your dog’s bottled-up energy to avoid him becoming frustrated, annoying and destructive. Dogs of all ages and sizes benefit by regular play that works their brains and their bodies. Let me unleash these ways to channel your canine’s case of zoomies or pent-up energy.

  • Play a new kind of tug game. This one features three tricks: grab, tug and give. For high-energy dogs, start by showing him the tug rope and saying, ‘Tug!’ as you hold the rope tightly. When you pull-pull-pull, say, “tug-tug-tug.” Using two identical rope toys, teach your dog to release. If your high toy-drive dog is reluctant to drop the toy, lure him with a second toy to get him to drop the first one. Say, “good drop” or “give” when it drops it.

  • Work his nose. Hide treats in magazines, towels or newspaper sections. Start first by showing your dog a treat. Have him sit as he watches you ‘hide’ this treat in a towel, magazine or newspaper that you crumple up. Then call him to ‘find’ the treat and praise him when he does. You can add more layers to bury the treat deeper. Or, you can sprinkle a handful of small treat pieces in a snuffle mat for him to find.

  • Play puzzle games. Take three paper cups or empty and cleaned yogurt containers. Punch a hole to allow the scent to more readily escape and let your dog watch your put a treat under one cup. After he catches on, knock the cup down for the reward. Then mix up the cups to let him choose and of course, let him more than one try to find the treat.

  • Run the bases. In an open room, place four pillows a few feet apart. Have your dog sit on first base and using a treat, direct him to go to the second pillow, then to the third and then the fourth. Be with your dog to guide to the next pillow to focus his motion.

  • Teach your dog to tidy up. Place a toy in an open toy box (or cardboard box) and cue your dog to fetch it. When he lifts the toy out of the box, place your hand over the box and cue him to give the toy back to you. Mark it, let the toy fall in the box and deliver a treat over the box. Gradually, you can add the verbal cue, ‘clean up time!’ to get your dog to fetch his toys scattered on the floor and put them in this toy box.  

And speaking of being tidy, bring out one-third of your dog’s toys at a time and stash the rest. Every few days, rotate a new batch of toys to keep all of them inviting and enticing to your dog.  Now when the nasty weather arrives, you and your dog will enjoy a fun time indoors.