• Katie Plyter, ABCDT

Indoor Games For Family Fun

Updated: Nov 18, 2019

As the new year starts and the winter continues, cabin fever can begin to drive us all nuts! Especially after all the craziness of the holidays has gone, and life gets back to

normal. Our dogs aren't immune to this part of the year either. Colder weather can have them feeling cooped up and bored, which we all know is the perfect recipe for disaster.

When faced with this problem, your first thought might be to take them outside to give them some physical exercise. Go for a walk or let them run around at a dog park, but unfortunately for our dogs, a lot of people don't particularly enjoy being out in the cold. If you have older kids on winter break, you could always try to nag them into taking the dog outside to run but we all know how well that ends up working out.

Luckily, there are a lot of fun games you (or your kids) can play inside with your dog this winter without causing havoc throughout your house.

1. Hide and Seek

This is my favorite indoor game to play. Place your dog in a sit/stay, go hide, and release your dog to come find you! When they do, reward with treats or play. It's perfect for the whole family* and even helps train your dog. This game helps proof your dog's sit/stay behavior by introducing the 3 D's, Distance, Duration, and Distraction. It also rewards your dog for finding you over other distractions in the house, which in turn puts more value in you as the owner. This will help a lot when training recalls!

2. Scent Games

These are fun because they give you the chance to get creative. Grab a couple of plastic cups and a package of hot dogs (any strong smelling yummy treat will do) and you're good to go. In a room away from your dog, place the cups upside down on the floor and place a little piece of hot dog under a couple of the cups. Bring your dog in and watch as they sniff out the treats.

If your pooch has a super sniffer, try making things harder! Take half of a hot dog and drag it along the floor to create a trail of smell. At the end of the trail, hide the hotdog somewhere where your dog can reach it. Bring your dog back into the room and see if your pup can follow the trail you created and find the hidden treasure!

3. Obstacle Course Agility

This one requires some creativity as well and can be a lot of fun for kids to be a part of! No need for expensive agility equipment, all the materials can be found or made out of regular household items. Try making tunnels out of large boxes by opening up both ends, or set up some broom sticks and pillows to make jumps. Fun games like this are great for boosting your dog's confidence with uneven surfaces or items, just remember to never force your dog if they seem hesitant. Let them set the pace and don't forget to make it fun!

Fun for your dog can be more than just a walk or run at the park. Get their brain involved and make it fun for the whole family. A little creativity can go a long way, use one of these great games or make up your own!

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