Canadians are no stranger to the cold weather. But for dogs who prefer to stay indoors during the winter months, it’s important to find other avenues for enrichment.
Finding creative ways to keep your dog active and mentally stimulated will not only be tons of fun – for you and your dog – but it will also help to strengthen your human-animal bond. Here are some indoor enrichment ideas that you and your pup can explore during the winter season.
Good and consistent training is so important for an animal’s overall wellbeing. It sets puppies up for success and helps adults and seniors thrive. Toronto Humane Society is currently offering group training classes and puppy classes that you can enroll in. Here is a list of our current offerings:
Click here to learn more about the services and to enroll into a training class.
Mealtimes at home can be a great opportunity to let your dog use their brain to forage for food. Here are some examples.
If you have a muffin baking tin, turn it upside down and spread your dog’s food around the depressions. Or, if you have some tennis balls in the house, place the muffin tin right-side up and store kibble inside the cups. Then place the tennis balls on top of each kibble pile. Your dog will use their nose to sniff the food out from beneath the tennis balls.
Have a cardboard box laying around? Fill it with crumpled up newspaper and hide your dog’s treats inside. Dogs love this one. Just make sure you don’t leave any shredded paper around once mealtime is over.
Using challenging games and puzzles is a great way to keep your animal active during the cold winter months.
For example, you can create a kibble scavenger hunt in your backyard or a large enough room in your house. Make the hiding places easy – even within plain sight at first. Tell your dog to “Go Find It” and lead the dog to the pile of “hidden” kibble. Once the dog gets the idea, you can gradually make the food more difficult to find. Remember, if the dog stops looking or shows stress over the game, simply make it easier, and then increase difficulty incrementally in small steps.
Another fun DIY game is hiding a treat under one of three plastic cups. Mix them up and then ask your dog to find the right cup to get the treat. Quick, easy, and mentally stimulating!
Treating your dog with some new interactive toys helps to keep them engaged. Toys that also double as treat dispensers, like the classic KONG toy, are great tools to keep your dog’s mind active during the cold winter months.
Recall games such as “hide and seek” where you would hide in a room and have your dog use their nose to find you, or a good game of tug-of-war is a good way to get your dog’s heart pumping. Playing with your pup –even for just 30 to 45 minutes– goes a long way for physical enrichment.
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