Keep dogs indoors: information, tips & ideas for sensible utilization

Hunde drinnen beschäftigen: Info, Tipps & Ideen zur sinnvollen Auslastung

It is not always possible to spend hours roaming through the wilderness with your four-legged friend. Some days even the most motivated dog owner needs a break or your dog doesn't want to wander through mud.

There are perfect utilization options at home for these situations. This article covers everything from search games to intelligence training to possible displays of boredom.

Hello and woof!

I am Janine, 22 years old, media designer, passionate dog mom and temporary dog ​​trainer at our dog park. Our home is being turned upside down by two furry friends, who I will of course briefly introduce.

This is us:

Lilly, a 10 year old Berger des Pyrénées dog. She's a little whirlwind, totally excited and likes to be a little bitch.

And our chick Rey, also a Berger des Pyrénées dog who is now 2 years old. She's an absolute nerd. Always with full enthusiasm and the first dog that I am able to raise mostly on my own.

We can be found together on Instagram under “ Lilly_und_Rey ”. On our account we report about our everyday experiences. We don't always take the easy route, but also report openly and honestly about unpleasant things. We also like to remember days gone by with our late terrier mix dog Hera. Of course, Lilly and Rey's past puppyhood shouldn't be missed either.

Is my dog ​​bored? These are possible signs

Anyone who adopts a dog needs to keep it busy, both physically and mentally. Otherwise, the dog could quickly become bored. We started from scratch with our first dog. Our family didn't have much prior knowledge of dog training. We quickly realized that we needed to keep Hera busy more. She began to find her own entertainment by stealing things. This is one of many characteristics that can indicate that the dog is bored.

Other characteristics of boredom can include:

Increased barking/whining

Many dogs try to get the owner's attention by whining or barking. Dogs often bark to signal that they need something to do. Mental or physical.

Spinning in circles

This is often noticeable by the dog chasing its tail. The dog has too much excess energy that he is trying to get rid of.

Licking and nibbling on certain parts of the body

Licking and nibbling on paws or other parts of the body can be a sign of insufficient demand. Before you keep your dog busy, it is important to check with the vet that this behavior is not due to illness.

Destroying objects

Bored dogs sometimes have a tendency to destroy things.

The signs I mentioned can indicate boredom. Which doesn't mean that your dog will get bored as soon as he shows any of the signs. If you are unsure, a dog trainer can help you. He looks at your everyday life and analyzes what the problem could be. You can work on solutions together.

What helps dogs combat boredom?

Simply going for a walk is often not enough. Especially when the weather isn't great and you don't want to be outside for long. In recent years we have acquired a diverse repertoire of activities. You can do these exercises very well at home. Many things can be combined so that the dog is always faced with new, exciting challenges. I would like to give you a small excerpt from this as inspiration.

This anti-gobbling bowl is perfect for fast eating dogs. It also offers your dog an alternative to the classic bowl. This means your pet will be able to eat their food for longer. This bowl is light pink and available from PAWSOME Dog Supplies.

The important things first

There is one thing that is particularly close to my heart, so I would like to mention it right at the beginning.

Have fun doing it! Your dog will show quickest progress if you enjoy working with him. Your dog is the mirror of yourself. If you don't feel like it, are tense or in a bad mood, your dog will notice. Stay calm if things don't work so well at first or you go backwards, that's completely normal. You can reward your dog for every little progress.

I struggled with myself for a long time and was quick to get angry when things didn't go well. But at some point I realized that it wasn't helping. I know that saying “just stay calm” makes you even more mad. Unfortunately, it is the key to success. After a while you will notice that the connection between you and your dog becomes stronger and stronger.

Use activity toys

Every dog ​​owner knows: lick mats, Kong & Co. For rainy days, these toys are a great way to give your dog some exercise while eating. These toys have now become an integral part of our home.

I fill my Kong substitute from Beeztees in three different ways:

  1. Variant for beginners: With treats or dry food and finally a little peanut butter
  2. Slightly more difficult option: With wet food and a dollop of peanut butter
  3. Version for Kong experts: Fill with dry food, pour yogurt inside and finish with peanut butter. Then put the toy in the freezer and let it freeze. This means your dog can have a lot of fun chewing for a long time.

Odin activity toy to fill with treats and peanut butter. Perfect alternative to the classic Kong. Hours of activity for your dog at home.

Ask basic commands: sit, down, stand, stay, come

You should definitely not underestimate the safe execution of the commands mentioned above, because it helps immensely in everyday life. The advantage of practicing this in your own four walls is that your dog is in a familiar environment. This means he has far fewer distractions and stimuli that could interfere with his ability to concentrate on his work. You can implement all signals without much preparation and adapt the difficulty individually to your dog.

Your dog should be able to hold the command until you resolve it. To resolve, you can train an end signal, such as 'OK', 'Done' or 'End of work'. If you can do this without any problems, you can go one step further and try the whole thing from a distance. Start with a short distance and work your way up to a longer distance step by step.

Search games/nose work in the house

A great activity to keep your dog mentally occupied is nose work, as he has to use his nose.

At the beginning you should place the treats openly within your dog's sight and only increase the level of difficulty over time. Once your Wuffi finds out what you want from him, you can make the game a little more exciting. You can hide the treats in your apartment. You can hide the goodies under a blanket or something similar. If your dog is more into toys, you can use his favorite toy instead of treats.

There are a lot of types of activities that are based on nose work. For example, intelligence toys or treat balls, which can be purchased in most pet stores. Do you want something quick that you can make with everyday items? Take an empty kitchen roll, fill it with treats, fold the ends over and you have a little surprise bag. The bottle organ is also easy to build and one of our dogs' favorite games. You can find some building instructions on the internet.

You can also try the shell games with your dog. Your furry friend will certainly not reach for nothing. To play the shell game, take a treat and place it under a cover. Your dog can then push the cover aside. Once your Wuffi understands the concept, you can set up several cones and your dog has to knock over the right one.

It gets particularly exciting when your dog has to show you the treat. For example, he can make room at the right cone. Then you go and pick up the hat. If your darling answered correctly, he or she gets the treat. If he was wrong, you say 'Too bad' and send him looking again.

Indoor fetch

Here you start with a small distance that you steadily increase. Initially, a food bag is suitable for throwing as the smell makes the bag more interesting. The aim of retrieving is for your dog to come to you straight away and without playing with the toy. A precise delivery (e.g. into your hand) is also part of the exercise.

As an extension, you can teach your dog to put his toys in a basket. This not only ensures a tidy apartment, but is sure to be a lot of fun for your dog. You can use a regular toy or a small pocket dummy to play fetch.

Indoor fetch with Romney's Mini Dummy. Dogs can be exercised indoors so well.

Training impulse control indoors

Impulse control means that your dog is able to resist a stimulus and instead displays learned behavior. For example, he stays with you even though a deer runs into your path. Or stops before he eats a possible poison bait.

I will explain to you step by step a good exercise for the beginnings of impulse control:

  • Step 1: Pick up a treat.
  • Step 2: Have your dog sit, stand or lie in front of you. Depending on what is comfortable for your dog.
  • Step 3: Extend your hand to the side. Your dog will probably look for your hand. Leave him calm and give him time to think.
  • Step 4: As soon as he looks at you, he gets his food.
  • Step 5: If you want to insert a command, start saying the command after several successful repetitions. I use 'leave it'.

Ideas for expanding impulse control often reach us via social media. There you can see videos of dogs surrounded by a sea of ​​treats. They're just waiting to devour them. The basic building block of these videos is that a treat is placed at a distance from the dog.

He can only grab it after the woofy gets a dial tone. You can increase the number of treats and distance given over time. For example, you could place the food on their paws in a very common way.

Fynn trains impulse control with great treats from Cookie Thief. These are the Cookie Thief Fitis 'Turkey', they taste good and are healthy for your dog. Exercise your dog at home and give him some mental work.

Help in the household

I admit it, I can be really lazy. But I know two furry friends who are not at all. That's exactly why our dogs are predestined to help us around the house. By combining the activities mentioned above, your dog can be taught a lot of things that can really make your household chores easier.

Our dogs put empty bottles in the deposit basket and bring me the remote control when I'm too lazy to get up. My dogs are also very good at opening doors or bringing clothespins when I drop them for the hundredth time.

We were also able to reverse certain of Lilly's annoying peculiarities. She really liked to tear up pieces of paper or something similar if we accidentally dropped them. We taught her not to destroy them, but to bring them to us. She now tells us everything that she doesn't think belongs on the floor and is usually right. Afterwards she can throw away the treasure she found, gets a treat and is delighted.

Don't forget to take a break

In the beginning, a dog cannot concentrate for long. This can increase over time, but make sure you don't overwhelm your dog. If you notice that your concentration is slowly decreasing, come to the end gradually. Try to end the training after a well-executed exercise so that you have a positive conclusion.

Summary: How can I exercise my dog ​​in the house?

To prevent your dog from becoming bored, you can keep him busy in a variety of ways. It doesn't necessarily have to be outside. There are many ways you can exercise your dog sensibly at home. Examples include: executing commands and tricks, search games, retrieving, impulse control and household help.

Kong replacement from Beeztees filled with wet food and peanut butter. Give your dog a little variety in his food intake. Beeztees dental toys are a great alternative to Kong chew toys. It is made of natural rubber and very robust.

Every beginning is difficult. Make it as easy as possible for your dog at the beginning and increase step by step at an appropriate pace. It's normal to have bad days or to take steps backwards. Keep your head held high! Your dog does his best and the world usually looks completely different the next day.

Give yourself breaks. If concentration wanes, slowly come to the end and end the training session on a positive note.

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