As the winter cold streak continues, many of us are finding ourselves trapped inside the house with a dog or dogs that have a severe case of cabin fever. Without regular walks, or even free time outside, dogs get bored. Without physical exercise or mental stimulation, dogs can resort to bad or destructive behavior.

You can curb your dogs boredom with a variety of fun indoor exercises like these:

Treadmills
With a treadmill you can safely treadmillexercise your dog in your home whenever your dog needs it. You can use the treadmill you already have, purchase a used one for cheap off of Craig?s List, or a buy treadmill specifically designed for dogs.

Here?s a video from Bad Rap for getting started with a dog-powered (no motor) treadmill.

Puppy Push Ups
Sit, down, sit, down, sit, down. Easiest ?trick? in the book. It helps burn off a little energy, even if your dog only knows two commands!

imagesFeeding all Meals from Frozen Kongs
If your dog has a lot of energy, chuck your dog bowls all together and only feed from dog puzzles or Kongs.

Try freezing your dog’s food inside a Kong since it. ll take much longer for your dogs to work out their meal, burning more mental and physical energy in the process.

chaseitRile/Recovery work with a Flirt Pole
You can go the homemade route or buy a pre-made chase it toy, but either way, if you have a dog that loves chasing stuff (and has healthy joints), this giant cat toy will rock their world and burn a ton of energy. What?s key to this? Your dog must know basic commands such as: sit, down, wait, take it and drop it for this to be a safe, fun game. If you want to do this inside, get a smaller 2-3 foot flirt pole, for outside, you can go big! Before you try it, take a look at this video from Bad Rap and read this how-to.

Those are some of the easiest cabin fever crushers, but don?t stop here! Be creative and try some of these other tips (keep in mind that all dogs are individuals and what works for some, may not be the best choice for others):

Hide & Seek
Ask your dog to sit and stay while you go and hide in another room, or closet, or behind a curtain. Then yell “come” so your dog has to find you. Body and brain both get exercised, and it reinforces the come command.

Stairs
Throw a tennis ball or toy up the stairs so your dogs has to work extra hard to chase it. Make sure to keep this game safe! Watch open banisters, steep stair and make sure you are using carpeted stairs!

Laser Light (in small doses!)
Keep ‘dot’ sessions short and sweet! 10 minutes with the laser pointer can be a great workout. Combine obedience work with laser play which is a great way to proof commands on a really amped up dog.

Makeshift Agility Jump
Set a broom up about 6 inches off the ground, held by stacked books, boxes, paint cans, or whatever else you can find. Toss treats across the room so your dog has to run and jump over the hurdle to get it. It?s sort of ridiculous, but it works!

Nose Work
Set up a series of upside down boxes. Hide a treat under one box and ask your dog to “find it.” You can also hide small treats in places around the room and let your dog sniff them all out!

Keeping your dog busy and engaged in the winter months is vital to his health and happiness. Work hard and have fun!

___________________

Adapted from www.dogsinneedofspace.com