Indoor activities for you and your dog
With a favourite toy and some treats, there are many fun activities to keep you and your dog entertained indoors. Maybe you don't have the opportunity to go out right now; sometimes it is good to be able to play indoors too. In this article we share a few of our favourite indoor games.
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced, UK registered vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
✓ Included free as part of many pet insurance policies
✓ Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet
✓ Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Pick the cup
Another fun activity is asking your dog to try to find a treat hidden under a cup.
Step 1. Ask your dog to sit in front of you whilst you place a plastic cup on the floor. Place a treat under the cup. To prevent the cup from sliding around, you can place it on a mat or a blanket.
Step 2. Ask your dog to “Find it”. Let the dog use their paws and nose to try to lift the cup to reveal the treat underneath.
Step 3. Next, try the game with two cups, and then say “Find it”. Wait until they sniff the right one before praising them. Then add more cups to make the game more challenging.
These can be made longer and more interactive with a few simple changes. Try putting their normal food in a KONG, activity ball, Puzzle Ball, Buster Cube or Havaball. Food can also be scattered on a mat, or hidden in different places to help your dog use their brain and body to search for it. There are many other ideas for making your own version online. You can create an "enriched" garden by scattering their breakfast around. This will not only encourage their natural foraging instincts but also to build their confidence with new experiences.
A great way to get the family involved this Easter is to make your dog a homemade snuffle mat. They are simple and fun to make, and dogs love using their nose to find the treats hidden inside. You can even use their own dry food from their daily food allowance, so that you are not giving them extra calories.
Puppies during the lockdown period
We know that owners are going to be thinking about their puppies during this time and trying to find ways not only to keep them entertained but to make sure that they turn into well behaved and confident dogs in the future. There is some really good advice from the British Veterinary Association for puppy owners, and it is relevant to adult dogs as well.
The manufacturers of Adaptil have some excellent articles on socialising puppies and making sure that they are confident enough to cope with spending time on their own as well, which is going to be important for them.
These are important for both you and your dog. Begin to calmly and gently train your dog for routine health checks and healthcare. Dogs can learn to enjoy being brushed, having their teeth brushed, trimming their claws, having a bath, and learning to do a routine health check at home. Start with small steps and be sure to reward even the smallest progress. Practice extending the moment between action and reward.
Is your dog’s coat long after the Winter? For some dogs it is a great feeling to shed their Winter coat. Why not take the opportunity to give your dog a well-deserved bath and a groom? Start by bathing your dog with a pet-friendly shampoo, being sure to avoid their eyes. Dry them and then take a little time to brush out any remaining old coat!
For more advice about how to make your dog’s day interesting and fun, visit the Dogs Trust website.
Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our vets.