If you live in an area of the country where the temperatures are soaring, you may be searching for ways to keep your dog busy and entertained indoors. Regardless of the weather outdoors, your dog still needs exercise! Today, we’re going to share some of our favorite low-cost options for keeping your dog entertained indoors and beat boredom before it strikes.
Most people associate the summer weather with spending time outdoors, basking in the sunshine. While we all love beach days and backyard get-togethers, what do you do when the weather is too hot to allow your dog to spend time outdoors safely?
What you may not know is that boredom in dogs can lead to bigger behavioral issues, including barking, chewing, and other destructive behaviors. Research has revealed that dogs that don’t ‘play’ enough into their adult years may develop anxiety or aggression issues.
Before your dog destroys your favorite pair of shoes or upsets the neighbors with their excessive barking, it’s time to find some new and creative ways to keep them busy and mentally stimulated.
There are many great toys and products available on the market today to challenge your dog and keep them occupied while you’re busy or away from the home. By understanding your dog and recognizing their play style, you can provide them with a wide variety of toys that they can’t wait to enjoy.
However, if your house is anything like ours, the novelty of these toys will eventually wear off. You can cycle your dog’s toys to keep the interest level up, but sometimes you just need something different and new.
Rather than encouraging you to keep stocking up that overflowing toy box, we have put together a list of 8 low-cost or free ways that you can entertain your dog indoors.
We often make the mistake of seeing training as a chore. For many dogs, training time is not only a fun way to challenge their minds, but it’s also a great way to build a stronger bond with one another. If your dog is still newer to your household, you could use this time to work on their basic obedience skills. For older or more experienced dogs, try picking a new trick. The options are endless.
Build An Indoor Obstacle Course
If you have a larger room or a long hallway in your house, why not turn it into an indoor obstacle course? Create obstacles by looking around your house for inspiration. You could make a tunnel out of a cardboard box or jump on the big TikTok trend of creating a jump by piling up toilet paper. Be sure to choose options that aren’t going to hurt your dog if their attempt to do the obstacle falls short.
Turn Mealtime into A Game
Rather than just feeding your dog their meals, make your dog work for their food. Not only will this offer mental stimulation, but it will tap into your dog’s natural instincts to hunt their food. There are a few different ways that you can make mealtime fun including using a food puzzle toy or playing a game of ‘kibble hide-and-seek’ by hiding their food around the room. If you don’t have a food puzzle toy, try putting all your dog’s food inside a water bottle with the lid off so that they have to shake it free.
Create A Homemade Snuffle Mat
A snuffle mat is a dog toy that allows you to hide your dog’s treats or food among strips and loops of fabric so that they must hunt it down to enjoy the reward. While there are commercially available snuffle mats, you can make your own by tying strips of fleece through the holes of a basic rubber mat. This is a great way to repurpose a fleece blanket or a pair of fleece pyjama pants that have developed a hole.
Make A Busy Bucket
Like a snuffle mat, a busy bucket challenges your dog to search for their food or favorite treats, challenging their mind and providing them with a tasty reward at the end. All you need is a bucket or pail and a few towels. Slowly add the towels to your bucket one at a time, dropping pieces of food or treats in so that they are covered. The more towels you fit into the bucket, the more your dog will have to work through.
Speaking of hide-and-seek, why not enjoy a game as a family? This is a great opportunity to get the kids involved with entertaining your dog. One family member will need to stay with the dog, ensuring that they stay in place until they are released while everyone else finds a hiding space in the next room. When the time comes, give your dog the command and watch as they follow their nose and sniff out each person. Make sure to reward your pup with each discovery.
Puppy Play Dates
Do you have a close friend or family member that is also looking for a solution for their bored dog? Not only is a puppy play date going to give your dogs a chance to play and burn off some of that energy, but it’s also a great excuse for a social hangout yourself. Make some iced coffee, kick back and enjoy the entertainment. We’re not sure who has more fun at these play dates, the dogs or their people watching the live show happening in front of them.
Learn Scent Work
If you’re looking for a long-term solution to your dog’s boredom indoors, why not tackle a new hobby together? The sport of Scent Work challenges dogs to locate cotton swaps scented with birch, anise, clove, and cypress essential oils. While there are official scent work competitions that you can work towards, teaching your dog the basics of scent work can start at home. Take two boxes and place an item with the targeted scent under one. Practice with your dog until they can easily identify where the scent is located. Over time add more boxes to make the game more challenging.
Whatever you decide, remember that the main goal is to keep your dog busy and have fun. After all, that’s what the summer is all about! Isn’t it?
What are your favorite ways to keep your dog entertained indoors? Share your go-to activities and favorite products in the comments.