There are times when walks with your dog are not possible, be it bad weather, illness or other events that stand in the way of a long walk. However, especially breeds that need to move around a lot, such as Australian Shepherd, Beagle, but also Golden Retriever, need their regular movement, to prevent depressive behavior or feistiness. Look for alternatives on how you can keep your dog busy. Intelligence and search games, agility in the garden or the tried and tested fetching - there are lots of possibilities to challenge your little friend not only physically but also mentally. We have put together some tips and tricks that will bring fun and variety to everyday dog life not only for your four-legged friend, but also for you.
Playing with the dog in the apartment and in the garden
Teaching new commands: especially during the cold season or in situations where you can't walk that much, you can teach the dog new tricks or maybe brush up on old ones. Older dogs in particular enjoy getting a mental boost from time to time.
Search games for indoors and outdoors: another popular activity for dogs are search games. Simply hide treats in various places around the room and then send your dog on a hunt. This simple search game can of course also be played outside. Simply distribute lots of treats on the lawn or field, next to the tree or in flower pots. Your dog gets mentally busy, and this game also strengthens you’re his ability to concentrate.
Retrieving games - tried and tested, but effective: retrieving games don’t just exercise your four-legged friend physically, but they also stimulate him to work mentally and train his obedience. It is best to use a dummy that can be filled with treats. Throw the dummy and let your dog bring it to you. As soon as you have received it, reward your dog. Many dogs also fetch other toys such as balls, sticks or their favourite cuddly toy. This game is particularly suitable for your garden. With care and caution you can also practice retrieving indoors. If space within your flat is limited, let the dog run a few extra times.
Sniffing meadow for the home: a popular trend among dog owners are so-called sniffing meadows or sniffing carpets. They are very suitable for hiding treats and as a dog game in the house. You can also send your four-legged friend unattended on a treat hunt. If you don't want to buy a sniffing rug, you can make one yourself. The internet offers lots of ideas and instructions for the custom-made sniffer carpet. If you don't have the time or are not crafty, you can fall back on a simple towel. Lay out the towel and put some treats on it. Then you turn it over and add some more treats. Do that until it can no longer be folded - and off you go. A very simple, inexpensive but effective dog game for indoors.
Tugging games with strength and skill: depending on your dog’s size, these games can cost you quite a bit of strength and energy. If you are a little weak on your feet, you should perhaps rather play a game of searching or sniffing with your 30 kg dog. For everyone else, tug as best you can, because your counterpart will not give up easily. Anything that can be held on both sides is suitable as a tugging toy. You can also combine fetching very well with a tugging game, but make sure that the dog knows you are always in control.
Agility for outside: agility is an official dog sport, and there are lots of challenging hurdles for your friend to overcome. Agility training is of course best done outside. There are slalom courses, tire jumps and many other obstacles. Order an agility set online, look for used sets at the second hand store, or build your own individual agility set after researching some ideas online.
Indoor agility: if you don't have a garden but would like to offer your dog agility training, simply use your own body as an obstacle. Slalom through the legs or high jump over the arm are also possible within your own four walls. This activity game strengthens the bond between you and your dog.
Plastic bottle as a food ball: this game is pure brain work for dogs. With a simple water bottle you can send your friend on a treat adventure. Simply take a standard plastic bottle, and, using scissors or a sharp knife, cut several holes in it. Then fill the bottle with treats. The holes need to be big enough for the treats to fall out while you roll the bottle. The do-it-yourself food ball is ready. Now lay in front of your dog and start rolling the bottle. Then hand it to your dog and observe whether he is just rolling the bottle or nibbling on it. If he bites the bottle, take it away from him and make it clear that he is only allowed to roll his new toy.
There are plenty of ways to keep your dog busy both indoors and outdoors. But make sure that your friend doesn't get too many treats. Consider adapting the size of his daily meal to the amount of treats. We hope you will enjoy retrieving, searching and hiding!