Five Indoor Pet Activities to Try This Winter

Cat playing with an orange fur ball
During the winter, it can be difficult to find ways to stimulate your pet as we spend more time inside. Transform your four walls into the “great indoors” with these 5 activities to keep your pets engaged when the weather outside is frightful.
 
1.  Spice up their toy box
There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to indoor fun for your dogs and cats. By rotating out your pet’s current stash of toys, they’ll always have something new to play with. After not seeing them for a while, your pet will look at the old toys like they’re brand new! Some other examples of boredom busters include long-lasting chew toys, treat dispensers, and logic puzzle games.
 
2.  Teach a new trick
Practice makes perfect! Is there a command that your pet is struggling to pick up? More time spent indoors means more time for learning. This could mean more time for your cat’s litter box training or teaching your dog a brand-new trick. Whatever the focus, make sure that you offer breaks before your pet gets too exhausted and is less likely to follow the lesson.
 
3.  Create an indoor obstacle course
If you can’t make it to an indoor dog park, bring the park to your pet! With some everyday objects and common furniture, you can create your own indoor obstacle course. Once everything is set up, take some time to guide your pet through the course and teach them the proper route to follow. Once they’ve mastered one route, change up the path and obstacles to keep them engaged and mentally stimulated. After each successful run through, have a high value treat waiting for them at the end of the course and congratulate your pet with lots of praise. 
 
4.  Hide-and-seek the treats
Time to put those hunting instincts to the test! While your pet is kept away in another room, hide treats or toys around the house (you can even hide yourself!). To keep your pets guessing, throw them off by walking all around the room making noise as you do so. That way they won’t know where to start looking! Before you let your pet start seeking, increase anticipation with a short countdown. You can even fit in an extra training moment by asking your dog to “sit” and “stay” until you say “go.” Be encouraging and give hints as your pet explores the room. When they’ve found what you’ve hidden, reward them with praise or a treat for a job well done.
 
5.  Hide-and-seek for seniors
For older or less physically capable animals, you can play a variation of hide-and-seek. Sit across from your pet and show them a treat. Hide your hands behind your back, close your hand around the treat to make a fist, and make a fist with your other hand too. Reveal both of your closed fists to your pet and ask them to guess which hand is holding the treat. When playing with your dog, encourage him or her to use their nose and have them place their paw on the hand that they think is holding the treat. If they’re successful, give your pet the treat and shower them with lots of praise.
 
We hope you enjoyed these tips to help fight the winter season blues! Before you try any of these activities, consider the breed, age, and personality of your pet to pick an activity that is best suited for them. Remember, these activities aren’t just for winter. They make good rainy-day activities too. With some creativity and imagination, you can make the indoors great all year round!