It’s wintertime here in Central Oregon! While many of us enjoy the cold weather and snowy conditions, cold-weather activities are not always ideal for our four-legged friends. Some breeds of dogs are able to tolerate the cold better than others, but some are just not suited for outdoor activities during these cold, short days. Here are a few ideas that can be enjoyable for our canine friends that would prefer to stay indoors during the winter.
- Indoor scavenger hunt
Hide your dog’s favorite toy or treats in a blanket, under bowls or cups, or in mystery places around the house. An indoor scavenger hunt can help encourage nose work and natural instincts as well as provide some exercise. An indoor scavenger hunt can also be mixed up with a little hide and seek. Tell your dog to stay and go hide somewhere in the house where your dog can find you. Your dog will enjoy going room to room, looking for their favorite person!
- Indoor Fetch
If your dog enjoys playing fetch, but doesn’t want to brave the snow or ice, try playing fetch inside. A long hallway or a large open space without slippery floors is ideal. Have your dog sit beside you and stay. Throw a ball or toy of choice and allow them to retrieve it.
- Teach a new trick
Dogs love metal stimulation. Use your indoor time to teach your dog a new, fun trick. Whether its roll over, shake, or to bark on command, your dog will love learning and spending time with you while they master this new skill.
- Provide slow feeders or treat dispensing toys
Slow feeding dog bowls and toys that dispense treats (like kongs and snuffle mats) are great! Many of these bowls and toys require your dog to move or manipulate them a certain way to get the treat or kibble out. This is a great way to keep your dog’s brain engaged during meal-time.
- Make an indoor DIY dog obstacle course
By using items that you already have around the house, you can create a safe and fun obstacle course for your dog to navigate through while stuck indoors. Hula hoops, laundry baskets, curtain or shower rods, and pvc pipe can be used to create jumping obstacles. Boxes, ramps, chairs, and children’s toys can be easily assembled and disassembled to create this temporary course for your dog.
Wintertime doesn’t have to be boring for our dogs that prefer the comfort of the indoors while it’s cold outside. Providing a variety of supervised activities, like these, can help encourage mental stimulation, are fun, and can be a great bonding experience.