Sometimes the winter weather dissuades us from going outside. While waiting for the weather to improve, here are some indoor games that will make your pet happy. Of course, this does not replace a walk – essential for the well-being of your dog – but it can compensate for a walk shortened by necessity …
1- An obstacle course
With a cushion, a stool, a chair or an ottoman, your living room will transform into an agility ground! Arrange these elements to make it a real course and encourage your dog to follow you. If necessary, motivate him with a few well-placed treats …
Your dog will exert himself by concentrating on the obstacles to circumvent or to pass but also by running everywhere like a little madman!
2- A little education?
After physical exercise, mental gymnastics! Do not hesitate to revise the little tricks that your animal knows: the idea is that the “exercise” is short, just a few minutes to work on his concentration. Sitting, standing, lying, pawing will be playful postures for him if their accomplishment is also rewarded by caresses.
3- A chase game
Cat lover, now is the time to titillate his hunting instincts! Arm yourself with feather dusters or toys to encourage him to follow you or climb on objects that you have previously arranged.
4- A greedy enigma to solve
A few treats arranged in a Kong® for dogs or a Pipolino® for cats, it works the brain! Your companion will rack their brains to obtain them and will quickly become more crafty each time the experience is repeated. Be careful, however, not to play too often or to make the game last too long at the risk of it becoming torture, especially if he is hungry!
You can also make these little toys yourself: in a shoebox with a pierced lid, your cat will have to put its paw inside to remove the kibble. For dogs, remove the cap from a small plastic bottle and place treats inside: he'll have to spill the bottle to get them.
5- A little climbing?
To practice your climbing skills, have one or more cat trees for your cat. “ In theory, the cat tree should perform the functions of a garden tree. If your interior and your budget allow it, choose it as rich in elements and as high as possible… and there is no shortage of choice! Here are the different pleasures that the tree should provide for the cat: climbing, scratching, hiding, resting, playing and observing ”explains veterinarian Laetitia Barlerin in her book Un chat rire en appartement (Rustica éditions, 2007).
6- A track to follow
In the book 50 tricks to train your dog (White Star editions, 2011), you will find many games to entertain your pooch. Here is one of the suggested exercises: Sit your dog down. Then show him a toy or treat and hide it in front of him. Wait a few seconds then ask him to find the object. Repeat the exercise, letting him smell the treat but hide it out of sight. To make the exercise more difficult, you can hide the toy, take your dog out for ten minutes for his walk, and see if he finds the object immediately when he comes home: a way to work on his memory in the medium term.
7- hide and seek
Go and hide in a room not too far from him and ask your dog to come and get you! To complicate the game, turn off the light… Whenever he finds you, congratulate him!
Cats also love this game: “Hiding and interfering in the most inaccessible places are behaviors rooted in the nature of the cat. (…) For his pleasure, let him regularly enter the cupboards, wardrobes, closet and have fun going to surprise him in his hiding place! It will quickly become a game between him and you ”suggests Laetitia Barlerin in her book.