By Courtney Emken
co-written by Jen Larson, KPA-CTP
What does an ice-cold winter, a boiling hot summer, and a storm-filled spring all have in common? —You probably don’t want to take your dog outside during them! While this may seem like bad news, here’s how you can keep your dog fit and stimulated without ever heading outdoors.
Why Outdoor Activity Isn’t Always Best For Your Dog
Dog owners tend to imagine exercise and play with our dogs as primarily outdoor activities. This approach works well when it’s nice outside, but as we all know, Texas weather doesn’t always cooperate with our plans!
Summers in the greater Austin area can be scorching hot, and while some dogs may be comfortable with heat, many just can’t handle it. The dogs most at risk for overheating are:
These dogs need to be kept inside during the hottest times of the summer. If you do take them outdoors, we highly recommend keeping these visits short.
While outside, be sure that your dog has access to shaded or grassy areas. Dogs (probably) don’t wear shoes like us, so their paws are exposed to the pavement. You can test the ground by touching it yourself first; if it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws
Regardless of the temperature, dogs need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. Understimulated dogs may suffer from increased separation anxiety, and might take out their boredom on furniture. To avoid doggie cabin fever, try ramping up their indoor activity.
Our Top Training Exercises And Games Dogs Can Do Indoors
Luckily, there are tons of fun training exercises and games easily doable from home. These may seem like they’re just fun pastimes, but they’re actually designed to reinforce important skills for dogs. Here are some of our favorites:
- Hide and Seek: Playing hide and seek with your dog isn’t much different from from playing hide and seek with kids (except dogs can smell you from across the room). Have a partner hide with you, then take turns calling the dog over. When they find you, give them a treat, then repeat!
- Treasure Hunts: another version of hide and seek. You can place a few treats, or hide your dog’s favorite toys around the house (make sure they’re within their reach!) then let them sniff their way to success.
- Nosework Exercises: while more advanced nosework may require additional space and a trainer, basic nose exercises are easily done at home. Set up five or six cardboard boxes in an open room. Place a few treats inside, then set your dog loose to discover them.
- Grooming and Sensitivity Exercises: spend a little time brushing your dog and working on their sensitivity reactions. Gently touch their paws and ears to teach them to remain calm when being handled. Your vet will love you for this, trust us.
- Pet-Casso: we offer this as a boarding add-on at the Ranch, but you can do it from home too. Get some canvases and spread them on the floor. Next, put some pet-safe paint on your dog’s paws. Finally, let them walk across the canvas to create a paw print masterpiece! We recommend using washable paint to help with post-art cleanup.
- Sixty-Second Training: pick a cue that you want to focus on, like “come” or “leave it,” and do a little training exercise related to it. We have lots of guides for easy trick-teaching, and you can do many of our exercises in the comfort of your living room.
Feel free to invent your own indoor games too. If you have any questions, or want to share some cool indoor activities you’ve come up with, please contact us today. We’d love to hear from you!
Dog On Desk by Mackenzie Kosut
Dog On Rug by Cristian Bortes
Relaxed Dog by Andre Deak