We all know that the weather in Northern Virginia can be unpredictable, and at times, totally miserable. Especially so when you’re cooped up in the house with little to nothing to do, and your pet feels the same way. Bored dogs and cats can get into trouble when they aren’t properly stimulated and can potentially wreak havoc on your home if they develop destructive habits. Luckily, there are many fun and engaging activities that you and your pet can do together to pass the time when you’re both stuck inside.

Games/Puzzles

One of the easiest ways to engage your pet is through food because, honestly, what pet says no to extra treats? Games like ‘find the treat’, ‘the shell game’ and puzzle toys are a great way to entertain both you and your pet because you’ll see first hand how their mind works to solve a problem.

-          To play ‘find the treat’, simply place treats around the room in different hiding spots then give your pet a queue to sniff them out and praise them once they’ve found all the treats or point them in the right direction for ones they might have missed.

-          The ‘Shell Game’ requires you to place a treat under one of three or more opaque cups or containers, shuffle them around a couple times, interchanging their position, then wait for your pet to choose which cup they think the treat is under. Playing this game multiple times with your help will help them understand the game and improve.

-          Puzzle toys are another great way to help your pet show off their smarts, and they can be super simple to make at home, or you can purchase a premade one in stores or online.

Tricks

Teaching your pet simple commands such as sit/stay/lie down and working your way up to commands/tricks like weaving through legs, “Go to/find …” and utilizing different shaping games, you’re not only engaging your pet for an extended period, but you’re also sharpening their mind and keeping them engaged.

-          Shaping games involve breaking down a behavior into tiny increments and reinforcing the dog at each incremental step until you’ve achieved the full behavior. There are tons of videos and articles on the internet that go over what ‘shaping’ is and how to best use it for what you’re trying to achieve whether it be teaching your dog how to bow or how to fetch an ice-cold drink from the fridge. The possibilities are numerous!

Busy Activities/Play

If your pet isn’t up for puzzles or tricks, you can always go back to the basics and play a simple game of tug-o-war or fetch or fill up a Kong toy with peanut butter/frozen broth and let them have at it (make sure to do this on an easily cleanable surface). There’s also activities like hide & seek, an indoor obstacle course, chasing bubbles (they even make bacon flavored ones for dogs), and doggie playdates with their other best friends. The list goes on and on. 

Relaxation

If your pet is content but wants a little extra love, there is no wrong way to give them the added love and attention they deserve. Become a master doggie masseuse or treat them to a spa day at your favorite groomer. You can even brush up on some of your cooking skills and bake some special homemade treats, and if all else fails, snuggle up and relax with your fur baby.

Let us know if you found any of these activities helpful and stop by next month to read up on some more pet related posts. Make sure to follow us on all our Social Media pages for special updates and super cute pictures (your pet may be featured in one)!

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post! Mention this article to our front desk staff this month and get $5 off your next Montrose Pet Hotel stay or grooming/bathing appointment.

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