Your dog is always happy about a long walk, but what if the weather doesn’t permit it? whether it is too cold or too hot, Or if your dog should take it easy for a few weeks because of an injury or an operation? Here you can read how you can keep your dog busy at home and which toys are great for it.
Why Should You Keep Your Dog Busy?
Originally, the different breeds of dogs were primarily bred to give people a hand and to work with them. Some should hunt or chase animals, look for the nearest things or people, and yet others should protect their house and yard.
Even if our canine friends are mainly kept as family members today, most dogs are extremely enthusiastic about learning and get bored quickly if they are not regularly challenged and exercised.
Of course, nothing can replace long walks in nature. However, a variety of indoor games and activities will keep your dog busy and entertained. However, there are many exercises that challenge your dog mentally and are ideally suited to keep your dog busy at home.
Basic Rules for Keeping Your Dog Busy
If you practice commands or tricks with your dog at home or organize search games in the apartment, you should adhere to a few rules:
It should be fun for everyone.
This also applies to you and your dog. If the fun is lacking, all efforts are in vain. You should also be patient with yourself and your dog. Always take small steps when practicing tricks or commands.
Rewards After Indoor Games
Games with a reward are just more fun. For example, you can let your dog earn his food on some days. Set aside the food ration for this day in the beginning or put it in a food bag and try to give your dog in many games, orders and commands throughout the day until the bag is empty at the end of the day. You will notice how attentively your dog will follow you every step of the way from now on.
It is only fun if there is success.
If you are too fast and your dog does not understand the exercises, then there is no fun and his motivation drops. It, therefore, makes sense to do more easy exercises at the beginning and then increase the level of difficulty step by step. Pay attention to the timing and reward your dog as quickly as possible if he has done something right.
You should stop when it works best
Learning new tricks or commands can be really exhausting for your dog. Therefore, pay attention to regular rest phases in which your dog can process what has just been learned. Always stop when your dog has just completed an exercise the right way and has gained a sense of achievement. So the motivation remains high.
Indoor Activities: Brain Teasers and Sniffing Games, Dog Toys & Trick training
There are also a number of ways in which you can keep your dog busy mentally and physically at home. Thinking along even makes your dog more tired than mere physical exercise.
Nose Work and Sniffing Games
Sniffing is incredibly stressful for dogs. What seems so completely natural and self-evident is an outstanding characteristic that exhausts dogs after a short time and after which they really need a period of rest. It is said that 10-20 minutes of sniffing is as exhausting as an hour of running. So nose work is a great way to keep your dog busy without leaving the house.
Laying scent trails: It’s best to take strong-smelling treats and use them to create a scent trail in the apartment. To do this, simply pull the treat across the floor and place it on the floor at the end of the trail, where your dog can eat it as a reward when it has found it.
Hidden treats: why not hide one of your dog’s favorite treats in an old blanket. Only fold once at the beginning. If your dog has practiced before, you can fold them several times. Your dog will not rest until he has finally fumbled out this treat and examined every fold of the blanket.
Sniff rug: Do you know what a sniff rug is? No? Now then take a quick look at our DIY instructions: DIY – just make the sniffing carpet yourself! Your dog will love to sniff out all kinds of tasty things in it.
Make sniffing toy yourself: You can easily make things yourself for your dog. For example, fill toilet paper rolls with food and press the front and back shut so that the dog has to open them to eat the food. Or fill a shoebox with corks, crumpled newspapers, or paper towels and let your dog pick out his food from it. Do you happen to have some old or discarded clothes? Excellent! Fill discarded pants or a sweater with snacks, knot everything well and let your dog prey on his food.
Sniffing memory: With a little bit of talent you can sew a sniffing memory with these DIY instructions and practice recognizing and searching for smells with your dog.
Playing hide and seek: Have you ever hidden yourself in the apartment and let your dog look for you? For many dogs (and people) this is great fun.
ATTENTION: Hunting and racing games are very exciting for dogs and should therefore only be practiced to a limited extent, especially if you have a nervous dog. These strenuous games are counterproductive. On the other hand, nose work is a great thing for nervous dogs, as the dog has to concentrate a lot and the sniffing game helps them blow off the steam without being outdoors. Hopefully, with the right level of exercise, your dog will be curled up on the couch and ready to relax.
Concentration and slow crossing around obstacles promotes self-confidence and the coordination of your pup. To do this, for example, put a ladder on the floor and slowly lure your dog so that he can concentrate on how best to place his legs in order not to trip over. Let your pup work out the way for himself and support him with quiet words of praise. Or how about two buckets on which your dog should stand quietly with front and rear paws? These exercises are also great for nervous dogs, as they can reduce stress and learn to be more aware of their bodies.
Trick and Clicker Training
Learning tricks and commands is great fun for many dogs. Plus, learning tricks is a wonderful way to keep dogs mentally busy and kept indoors. There are so many tricks you can teach your dog. You can practice many of them in the apartment, e.g. undoing shoelaces, rolling onto your back, crawling across the floor, closing and opening doors, tidying up, switching the light on and off, and much more.
Clicker training is particularly suitable for practicing tricks and commands . You can specifically reward your dog for its correct behavior. In this way, your dog learns new behavior in small steps, for example giving its paws. Every sense of achievement is reinforced until it finally understands the trick.
Clicker training particularly requires the dog to think along with it. He tries out different solutions and thinks about which action is right and desired. Insecure dogs can learn to solve small problems without pressure and thus develop more self-confidence in themselves and in their abilities.
Games with dog toys are especially exciting for many dogs. If they have to think and then succeed on their own, it also strengthens self-confidence.
Just like us humans, every dog is different. The amount of indoor games and activities depends on a wide range of factors including age and breed. For example, not every dog can be motivated by treats. Some dogs may not want to look for treats in their home, but rather learn tricks and be petted as a reward or play with their favorite toy. There are so many ways you can keep your dog entertained around the house.
Try to adjust the exercise in the apartment to the preferences of your dog and offer your dog things that he likes to do. Because you know he best and know what he enjoys and where his strengths lie.
If you offer your canine friend enough indoor activities and rest at home, they will stay relaxed even when you cannot go for a long walk.