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Stuck at home with your dog: try these 7 activities

Are you looking for ways to tire out your favorite pup and keep him from getting bored while he’s stuck indoors this winter? I also! Under normal circumstances, traveling with my dogs is my favorite way to spend a weekend, especially when we get to hike new trails, drive back roads, and visit dog-friendly restaurant patios.

With travel on hold and remote work keeping us tied to a home office, I’ve been looking for ways to keep my dogs happy and healthy without going too far out. Despite the winter weather and being stuck indoors, my dogs still need exercise, interaction, and love, and so do yours.

Hanging out with my dogs is one of the best ways to get me out of a jam, and no matter how annoyed I get when toys are constantly left on my feet when I’m working, the truth is that I always appreciate their persistence.

Looking for creative ways to spend time with your dog while you’re stuck at home? Here are some of our favorite ways to adventure together, indoors and out.


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Teach your dog some new tricks

You probably already know this, but dogs love to learn new tricks, no matter how well trained they are. The best way to teach your pup something new is to commit to practicing short 15-minute sessions every day.

If your dog hasn’t learned the basics like sit, stay, lie down, and come, that’s a good place to start. After that, the sky is the limit. Teach your pup to stand on a skateboard, crawl through a tunnel and jump through a hoop. Trick training is not only an exhilarating activity when you can’t take your dog for a long walk, it will make them lifelong learners.

When it comes to trick training, use positive reinforcement techniques to help shape your dog’s behavior. During the early stages of learning a new skill, reward approach and effort. As your dog begins to understand what is expected, withhold rewards until he does what you ask.

Give your dog a spa day

Who doesn’t love a spa day? Treat your pup to some pampering while you’re stuck at home. Start with a warm bath, towel drying and a good brushing, followed by a pedicure.

If you’re new to trimming your dog’s nails, start slowly. We teach our dogs to love nail trimming by doing them one at a time, followed by a tasty treat. I know some dog owners who give their dog a Kong stuffed with treats and peanut butter to chew on while he cuts. This is too distracting for my dogs and makes them nervous. Instead, I fill a small bowl with treats, sit on the floor, and ask the dogs to lie down next to me. My dogs recognize the nail clipping bowl and as soon as they see it, they snuggle up and put their paws in my lap.

When you’re done trimming your dog’s nails, rub some soothing paw wax on his pads and elbows. Follow it all up with a dog massage. Your pup never had it so good.

go on a sniffari

A sniffari is more than just a dog walk; it’s a walk where your dog follows his nose while you follow him on the end of the leash. It’s fun to sniff at a new place, like a local park or trail, but you can also do it in your backyard.

The idea here is to let your dog lead the way, so be prepared to go off trail, spend a few minutes at the local piss tree, and visit places you never thought to visit.

Obviously, you want to keep your dog away from anything gross or dangerous, but otherwise it’s fun to let your pup lead the way. We use a 16 to 30 foot long leash for sniffles, so our dogs have a little more freedom.

Have a doggie photo shoot

Admit it. You already love taking photos of your dog, so why not plan a dog photo shoot? This is the perfect activity after those spa treatments when your dog is looking his best. Dress your dog in a colorful bandana and capture the best side of him. Selfies work too!

We have black dogs at the moment and it is very difficult to get good photos of them. Natural outdoor lighting is best if you are trying to capture a dark colored dog. If you don’t have your own personal photographer, put your phone or camera on a tripod and use a remote shutter to take the photo.

Make your dog some healthy treats

There are plenty of ways to pamper your pet while you’re at home, and since everyone seems to be raging up a storm these days, why not put some of that creative energy into cooking for your dog?

Our pups love peanut butter. We can’t even open a jar without them running from anywhere in the house to see if we’re doing something special to them. We’ve tried a bunch of different recipes, but so far our dogs’ favorite recipe is Granola Peanut Butter Crunchies.

Play hide and seek with your dog

Hide-and-seek is one of our favorite games to play with the pups on rainy days, and we’ve been doing it a lot while stuck at home, too. We have two variations that we play and the dogs love them both.

At first, I send the dogs to their beds and tell them to stay. I find a place to hide and then I whistle. The dogs come running, and when they find me, they shower me with dog kisses and I give them some treats. My favorite place to hide is behind the shower curtain. The downside of this version is that it’s quite easy to run out of stashes, especially if you live in a small house like me. Also, your dog needs to have a pretty good stay for this to work.

The next one is easier because I lock the dogs in the cloakroom so I can hide their favorite ball or toy. Once I’ve hidden it, I let them out and ask, “Where’s your toy?” Flynn will be playing this all day. Malinda, who is still young, just follows Flynn and then gets very excited when she finds the toy.

Playing hide-and-seek indoors or outdoors gives dogs physical and mental exercise, and is perfect for days when it’s too cold to exercise outside.

exercise with your dog

A daily dog ​​walk is a must in our house, but ever since we got stuck at home, we’ve been taking two or three shorter walks just to get out. Some days we take a quiet walk in the woods. Other days, we run the trails or hike up a steep climb to get our hearts pumping. Flynn’s happiest moments are playing fetch, so we made sure to do some of that, too. Exercising is so much more fun with a dog or two by your side, and you know what they say: a tired dog is a happy dog.

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