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Rain, Rain, Go Away: 7 Indoor Activities for Pets

7 indoor activities for pets

It’s just the 3rd day of autumn, and boy, has it been a wet one! It’s been raining steadily for more than 48 hours. Not just a drizzle. Hard rain. Windy, sideways rain.

My fellow Ontarians, you know what I'm taking about!

The toughest part of it is when these little buggs look up at me with their big round puppy dog eyes wondering why they can’t go outside to play. No, I take that back. The worst part is when they start to act out and misbehave because they have too much pent up energy.

With all this rain, and a long winter just around the corner, I started to think about all the indoor activities we’ll need to get us through those tough weather days. 

Of course, we have our standard go-to games, like tug of war, fetch, command training and food dispensing toys (snuffle mats, food balls, kongs, puzzle toys and lick mats). But I wanted to load myself up with innovative, exciting new ideas to keep my furry family entertained when we’re stuck inside. 

So what did I do? You guys are getting to know me now … say it with me, “She searched the internet!” You bet I did. And I found a ton of cool stuff I’m excited to share.

7 indoor activities for pets

Obstacle course: All dogs need to run and burn off energy, but some dogs need it more than others. High-energy dogs, like Jack Russels, labs, cattle dogs, shepherds and huskies, need more physical activity than, say, pugs, bulldogs, basset hounds and shih tzus. 

Fortunately, there are lots of items in your house that can easily be used to create an indoor obstacle course:

  • Use chairs backs covered with a blanket to create a tunnel
  • Footstools, step stools and laundry baskets make great hurdles
  • Chairs and tables (if high enough off the ground) make good army crawl obstacles
  • Use smaller items, like boots, boxes, or chairs for a zig-zag challenge
  • And the best built-in obstacle is a staircase. Whether it’s three steps or 12, if you have stairs, use ‘em! 

Tidy up: Whether it’s putting away their own toys or helping you put laundry in the basket, dogs love to help out with household chores. 

To teach your pet to “tidy” up, you first have to teach the “drop it” command. Once they know how to drop an item, you can teach them to drop socks in the basket, drop toys in their box, etc. 

Muffin tin game: This is a great one for Chance. Because his lower canine teeth are a bit too close together, the vet recommended ball therapy to correct the issue. Any game that encourages Chance to chew or carry a ball is great for him.

I just hide a treat in each muffin tin cup and cover it up with a ball. He has to use his nose and logic to uncover the treat. And don't worry if you don’t have 12 tennis balls (who does?). Mix and match whatever toys you have to cover the treats. The more textures and sizes, the more your pup will have to use his brain, which will tire him quickly. 

Find the treat: This super easy game makes for endless entertainment. Not only are your pups using their brain to figure out where you’ve hidden the treat, but they’re also using their sense of smell, which (believe it or not) helps tire them out. 

Hide one treat under one of the three cups then slowly rearrange the cups. Every time they choose the right cup, they get the treat! Keep it simple at first, just one or two cup movements -- when your pup is successful, he’ll want to continue playing.

TV time: Yes, you can plug in your pets, too! While it’s not recommended as a go-to way to occupy your pets, sometimes we all need a little break. It’s OK to turn on your pet’s favourite channel and let them Netflix ‘n chill. 

Chance & Roxy like to watch other animals on TV, so I just tune into a Youtube video filled with outdoor activity. They love the sounds of birds and crickets, and the sudden movements of squirrels, dogs, chipmunks … they love it all.

Grooming: It’s an important part of pet parenting that’s often overlooked. If you teach your dog to enjoy a “spa day,” you can take care of all their grooming needs in one enjoyable session. 

Best to tackle this one after a good play session -- you want your pets to be calm and relaxed for grooming. Use lots of positive reinforcement (and treats!) to trim nails, brush teeth, take a bath and brush out all that extra fur. Finish up with a nice foot massage and belly rub, and settle in for some quality cuddles.

Cuddles: This brings us to my personal favourite, after a long day inside or out … cuddles. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with your sweet little furballs when they’re all tuckered out to nurture your bond. 

No matter what mother nature has in store, add these indoor activities to your routine to keep your pups happy, healthy, and sleepy! After all, a tired dog is a happy (non-destructive) dog.

Do you have some indoor activities or games you like to play with your pets? We'd love to hear them! Share with us in the comments below ...

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