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Curing Your Dog’s Winter Boredom

Entertain your pup and prevent indoor dog damage with these fun-filled tips!

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Much like us, our furry friends get stir crazy and anxious when they’re cooped up inside! Sometimes, this can even cause your pup to take it out on items around your house like that new pair of shoes.

Your pup could just need a little training or they could just be in need of a new form of entertainment! Luckily, we’ve gathered some Fido-approved solutions that will keep your pup busy AND your furniture legs safe.

Dog playing tug-a-war

PRACTICE THE ‘OL SWITCHEROO

You wouldn’t want to play the same board game every night...and your dog is no different!

Keep your dog on their paws by buying them a new toy or do a simple toy rotation. Instead of laying out all of Fido’s toys onto the floor, give your dog access to just a few at a time. Then, when you notice your pup isn’t as excited with the toys you’ve laid out, trade out that rope for a ball or chew toy. You know that feeling when you rediscover a long lost sweater at the very back of your closet? Yep, that’s exactly how your pup will feel.

Remember, you can also make play more exciting if you join in on the fun and get involved! It sounds like a no-brainer, but even just a few minutes of tugging back and forth will get your dog’s tail wagging at record speed. (Psst...if you really want to get involved in your pup’s playtime, keep reading because we’re about to cover some fun DIY toys and activities.)

HONE THEIR HUNTING SKILLS

Is your dog dreaming about romping around in your backyard? Cue the snuffle mat. Besides having the most adorable name ever, it will also be your pup’s new fave. Essentially, a snuffle mat is made of long, tied-up pieces of fabric (usually fleece) that are supposed to resemble grass. The idea here is to let your pup use their amazing sense of smell to then find kibble hidden amongst the fabric strips.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make your own! (Just remember that supervision is always a good idea with any new toy...especially if your dog tends to be an enthusiastic chewer.)

Head to the kitchen department of your local store and find a rubber sink mat with holes that looks to be an appropriate size for your pet (a 12” by 15” mat is perfect for medium sized dogs).

Then, tear fleece into strips that are about six to eight inches long. Next, tie the fleece strips through each hole of the mat until the top looks like tall, floppy grass. In fact, the crazier the fleece strips look, the better!

Finally, throw in your pup’s favorite treats and watch the fun unfold.

If you aren’t the crafty type, no worries! Simply grab a kitchen towel, place Fido’s treats of choice in the middle, fold lengthwise and then tie the towel in a loose knot. Similar to the snuffle mat, your pup will then have to hunt for his food by figuring out how to untie the towel. Your pup will be as happy as this guy when he’s done!

Dog smiling up

MAKE AN AGILITY COURSE

With some indoor dog parks closed and Old Man Winter making long walks not so enjoyable, help your pup scratch that exercise itch by practicing agility indoors. All you need to create an agility jump is some space, everyday household items and a little bit of imagination! We’ve even come up with some thought-starters to get you going.

  • Create a jump for your pup by placing a broom across two chairs or two stacks of books.
  • Just make sure to adjust the height accordingly...we don’t want poor Fido to get discouraged right away!
  • To help with this, practice introducing your pup to the jump first.
  • Then, guide them with their favorite toy or treat. Eventually, your pup will get the hang of it and will be jumping like a pro in no time.

You could also have your pup jump over stacked toilet paper (or other similarly soft items), adding more rolls after each successful jump until the TP Castle topples over and your pup is crowned King of the Jump.

Your pup might even prefer weaving through pillows you place on the ground or crawling through a kiddie play tube. No matter what you come up with, they’re sure to love it! For more inspiration, check out our warm weather obstacle course ideas.

Dog sitting up with paw in the air.
Whether you do a new activity or simply play catch with your pup’s trusty ball, your dog will give you the title of MVP...Most Valuable (dog) Parent.

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