Employing dogs does not always mean physical exertion and romping around while walking. It is much more important to bring dogs to rest and mentally support them. Especially in bad weather, it is a good idea for dog owners to keep their four-legged friend busy in their apartment.
That’s why today we have 7 simple, but definitely challenging ideas on how to keep dogs busy – indoors.
Benefits of Keeping Dogs Indoor
The days are getting shorter, the weather more uncomfortable and the outside temperatures ever cooler. What could be nicer than being able to deal with the dog in your own four walls? The most obvious advantage would be clear – you are independent of the weather.
For many younger dogs and spirited dog breeds in particular, it can often be better to move the training inside. Because in the apartment, the likelihood that your dog will be distracted is much lower. This provides optimal conditions for concentrated and calm training.
But even with well-balanced dogs maximum attention is required through these employment opportunities in the home. Thus, they are suitable for all dogs and can be integrated into everyday life spontaneously and without effort.
Brain work with dogs is very important in addition to physical activity. As a dog owner or dog sitter, you should always pay attention to a balanced occupation with your four-legged friend. How you can keep your dog clear, even though you have to stay indoors a lot, you can find out now!
Keep dogs indoors
There are many toys for dogs, but it is often more effective and sensible to keep your dog busy. This strengthens the bond with each other and often, when you feel like doing something with your dog, you won’t find anything at home with which you can train sensibly. But you don’t need a lot for that either! The following ideas come out completely without tools that you have to buy extra.
The only things you need for some exercises are treats and household items. And of course lots of fun and time. Make sure that you subtract the portion of treats you give your dog during training from his daily food dose.
- Execution of signals and commands
The execution of signals is one of the absolute basics, but is often underestimated or forgotten during the actual training. That is why it is all the more important to practice the signals in a targeted manner. It is super easy for you, can be implemented without preparation and can be individually adapted for the dog. The simplest signals include sit, stand, sit down, stay and come. How you ultimately designate these is up to you.
You can vary your signals from light to difficult and, for example, only give the commands with visual signals. Or you try to let your dog carry out the desired signal with only hearing signals. If you like it a little more difficult, then turn around 180 ° and give him the commands without looking at him.
To execute the signals, the targeted holding of the signals also counts. This is repeatedly neglected, but – especially in everyday life – it is even more important than the actual signal. Do this in small steps, paying close attention to every movement your dog makes. Intervene in good time if he resolves the command prematurely. If your dog is able to do this, you can slowly try different distractions to make the exercise more difficult. For many dogs, the supreme discipline is holding commands when there is movement stimulus such as a ball.
If you have several dogs, you can combine the execution and holding of signals perfectly. You have one dog hold the signal while you practice various commands with the other.
- Distance work with dogs
Once your dog has mastered the execution and holding of signals reliably, you can move on to the next step – distance work. Your dog should understand the signals just through the visual signals and be able to assign them safely. Because with distance work it is of course called training with body language. Distance work can be practiced very well and extensively at home and later used outside.
It is important to increase the distance gradually and slowly. The rule here is: small steps are the way to success! If your dog makes too many mistakes, take a step back and adapt the exercises to your dog. The training should always be structured in such a way that it is completed successfully and the dog has a sense of achievement. Don’t forget to reward your dog. If you reward your dog regularly, he’ll have more fun and work better with you.
Here, too, you can use a distraction in the form of their favorite toy, food or a person for advanced dogs. This training will pay off, especially in everyday life and when going for a walk.
- Nose work
It is known that a dog’s sense of smell is one of the best of all living things. Dogs smell 10,000 times better than humans! Why don’t we make use of this anymore when playing? With nose work you can keep your dog busy for a long time. There are many options for this, which you can also adjust the difficulty depending on the endurance of the dog. In all exercises it is important that your dog waits until you give him the signal to get started.
You can hide as many treats as you want in your apartment and let the dog look for them. During this time you can sit back and relax and go about your work or watch your dog doing it. This exercise works well for dogs that are difficult to drive and need more incentive to get active. However, this activity is problematic for dogs that have learned or are not supposed to learn to take up anything from the ground. If you do not want that as a dog owner, then you can also train your dog to discover the treat by z. B. display barking. If he shows the treat, you reward him with another treat from your hand.
If your dog is less fixated on treats or on a diet, you can hide his favorite toys.
Of course, there are countless other ways, such as the sniff carpet or toilet paper rolls, to hide food. The easiest occupation for dogs to do is empty plastic cups. To do this, take a couple of cups and place a treat underneath. Most dogs quickly understand that there is a treat hidden under the cup and have great fun playing with the cups to get the treats.
Retrieving is also one of the dog basics. Nevertheless, you can keep your dogs busy both outside and inside. In addition to the head of your dog, the body is also challenged. Fetching is often underestimated and you can always improve it and train your dog more specifically. You don’t always need large meadows – on the contrary. You better practice the commands at a short distance in the apartment.
It is important that the dog’s more or less innate hunting instinct does not get out of hand and that it always remains focused and with its head. Therefore, here are the 3 golden rules for retrieving:
Rule # 1: Your dog will sit still until you have given him the signal to fetch.
Rule # 2: Your dog will bring the item back to you straight away. Here, too, you can work with professionals with a distraction on the way back.
Rule # 3: Your dog will drop the item in front of you without playing with it.
If you want to learn how to retrieve young dogs and puppies, food bags are suitable for throwing. The smell makes the food bag more interesting for dogs and they run after it almost automatically.
- Body training
You can train your dog’s coordination not only while going for a walk in the country. At home, too, there are many ways to work consciously and with concentration on the dog. It often makes more sense indoors, as your dog can relax in its own four walls and is not distracted. Aids for this can be found in every household.
For an exercise, for example, depending on the size of the dog, you can use an empty cleaning bucket or a pot and place it upside down on the floor. Now try to let your dog execute various commands slowly and in a controlled manner. From laying down a paw to putting down the front legs to circling the bucket – there are no limits to creativity. If your dog is smaller and particularly skilled, you can also try to lure your dog completely onto the bucket.
Many exercises, such as getting in and turning, can also be performed with a folding box. For your dog this means maximum concentration and training of coordination at the same time.
- Train frustration tolerance
This exercise can be combined well with executing and holding signals. Learning to tolerate frustration requires a lot of patience and brains and is not innate in dogs. In everyday life, however, it is important, because a lack of frustration tolerance means stress and inner excitement for the dog. Therefore, you should work on it as soon as possible. Especially at the beginning you shouldn’t overdo it and don’t push your dog’s limits.
Let your dog perform and hold a desired command. Then you put a treat in front of his paws, which he is not allowed to eat. Only after he has held out for a while do you reward him with your other hand treat. The treat on the floor will not be eaten. If you want it to be more difficult, you can place the treat directly on your paws or on his snout.
Trick training is not only fun for your dog on rainy days, it is also a lot of fun. Starting with giving paws and turning to giving kisses and running through your legs – little tricks are great and are brain work for your dog. It is always important that the dog is with his head and not just running after the food. There are numerous easy dog tricks for indoors that you can teach your four-legged friends. But it would go beyond the scope of this article to explain all of them. Nevertheless, we would like to go into a basic trick in more detail: Nose
With “Nose” you can teach your dog many more tricks, such as walking through your legs. “Nose” means to touch something with your nose. In this case, your hand should be touched with your nose.
It’s that easy: If the dog touches the palm of your hand with the expectation of something to eat, you reward him. With this expectation, your dog can learn the trick quite easily. As soon as he is aware that he has to touch his hand with his nose, you link it to a signal.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to keep dogs indoors. The best thing about these exercises is that they are easy to use with all dogs – trained or not – without it getting boring. So you can also build them in during dog care. In addition, with these exercises you can work perfectly on obedience and use them in everyday life.