The heat of summer is upon us. Unless you have access to a body of water where your dog can swim, that might mean getting a bit creative with keeping your dog active indoors. When the temperatures skyrocket, it’s important to exercise only when you have access to shade or water so your pup doesn’t overheat. If it’s too hot or rainy to play outside, it’s good to have some indoor options under your belt to keep Fido entertained. Here are some ways to have fun with your dog within the comfort of your own home.
Toys & Puzzles
A good interactive toy can keep a dog busy for hours. Look for toys that challenge dogs to use a combination of their nose and paws. Puzzle-feeders are toys that have hidden compartments built in, so dogs have to turn them a certain way or push a certain part of it to release the treat. You can fill a rubber kong with peanut butter or yogurt for a treat that takes some tongue dexterity to access. You can even freeze it to get more mileage out of it and keep your pup occupied for longer lengths of time. Be mindful of the toy’s material; some dogs will delicately handle a stuffed toy while others will tear it to shreds. Tough chewers may fare better with rubber toys.
Hide & Seek
You can play hide and seek with your dog using two different methods: the traditional way or with treats. The traditional way challenges them to use their “stay” command while you hide. Have your dog sit and stay in one room while you hide in another. When you’re ready, release the command and call them to you. You can call out to them once to make them use mostly their nose to locate you, or call out repeatedly if you need to make this game easier for them. The treat method works mostly the same way, except you’ll hide treats around your house for your dog to locate. Be sure to make your hiding spots easy at first and gradually increase the difficulty!
A hot or rainy day is an excellent time to work on learning new tricks indoors. You want to set your dog up for success, so training sessions should be kept to short bursts of 5-10 minutes so they won’t lose interest. If your dog doesn’t know the basics, sit, lay down, and stay are a great place to start. Once your dog has mastered sit and down, you can do “puppy push-ups”, in which they alternate between a sit and down position repeatedly. This helps wear them out and strengthens their core muscles. We have lots of training videos on our blog to help you learn all kinds of tricks with your dog! Remember to treat the behavior you want to see – that is, if your dog is learning new tricks, praise and treats help to cement them.