Seasonal Cabin Fever

When it’s cold, snowing or raining outside, who wants to leave the comfort of the couch and cozy warmth of your favorite blanket? While it’s easy for humans to leave the outdoors, well, outdoors, our pets are undoubtedly chomping at the bit to burn off some energy built up from weather-related cabin fever.

Animal Behavior College offers a few suggestions when it comes to indoor-based games and activities for your dog:

  • First things first, is your dog motivated by treats, toys or praise? Use his motivation to determine the best games that will keep his attention.
  • All breeds aren’t created equal. For example, Labradors were bred to retrieve small game and objects, therefore different variations of fetch or hide-and-seek might keep their interest.
  • If you own a dog that belongs to the herding group, you know they need plenty of exercise. An easy game for this group might be laser-beam chasing, giving them the illusion they’re herding the beam to a specific location. (Note: never shine the beam directly in the dog’s eyes.)
  • Dogs that are stimulated through scents and motions, the hound group, might respond well to hide-and-seek with treats throughout the home. They’ll love tracking the scent and receiving a reward when found.

Here’s a list of other games to try when running around outdoors isn’t an option (via dogster):

  • Food Dispensing Toys – The rubber Kong® is a classic that can be stuffed with a variety of treats. There are also many durable puzzle toys that will keep Fido “puzzled” and curious, a great way to stimulate their mind.
  • Kibble Hunt – Briefly mentioned above, hiding a dog’s food around the house is a great way to let them use their sense of tracking. As your dog gets better at locating the kibble, be sure to find more difficult hiding spots.
  • Tug and Fetch – A true classic, this game of tug with your pup’s favorite rope toy doesn’t require much space. If you’re able to add a “fetch,” try using the hallway for more room.
  • Play Date – Have a friend stop by! Not only will you give one dog the avenue to blow energy, another dog can join. Be sure and puppy proof your home before their arrival.
  • Training – A trained dog is a great dog, and there’s no better time to work on training than while stuck inside. Pick your method (click training, reward training, learning games, etc.), and get busy. Your pup’s mind will be exercised in no time.

Of course, you can always venture out into the great outdoors (safely), and have an adventure with your dog!

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