Stuck inside? You don't have to leave the house to keep your pets entertained. Here are some fun indoor games to get you and your pets off the couch.
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is easy to teach to dogs of all ages and skill sets. It's a great way to teach and reinforce skills like sit, stay, and come. Have your dog sit in a bedroom or bathroom, then quickly hide in the next room. Call your dog, and when they find you, give them some love, treats, and praise.
Some cats, too, enjoy playing hide and seek. Keep it simple at first. Duck behind the couch with some treats and a noisy toy. Make plenty of noise to pique your cat's interest, then reward them with treats and playtime when they find you.
If you miss doing agility with your dog or just want to try something new, try setting up a makeshift obstacle course in your living room. Get creative! Cardboard boxes can be cut into tunnels and jumps, while paper towel rolls can be crafted into weave poles.
Agility isn't just for dogs. You can lure your cat through homemade obstacles with their favorite wand cat toy.
Did you know that sniffing actually lowers your dog's heart rate and makes them calmer, happier, and more optimistic? Going out on walks with plenty of opportunities to sniff is wonderful for your dog's mental health. You can challenge their nose indoors, too, with nosework exercises.
Take three identical boxes or containers and load one with a scent. Spices like clove or cinnamon, or pet-safe essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus work best. A little goes a long way. Place a small amount onto a tissue and put it inside one of the boxes.
Set up all three boxes next to one another. Praise and reward your dog every time they get close to the scented box. After a few repetitions they'll start to seek out the scent. Gradually increase the distance between the boxes as your dog gets better using their nose.
For a quick, easy version of nosework, put a treat in the box instead of a scented tissue. Let your dog discover the tasty treasure inside. Cats, too, can learn nosework, and they'll love hopping inside the boxes to find hidden treats.
You can help your pet create beautiful artwork without any special training with this fun painting technique. Dot a canvas with small blobs of non-toxic paint such as children's finger paints, then cover it with plastic wrap so your pet does not come into contact with the paint. Place spoonfuls of canned food on the plastic wrap, then let your pet lick it off. They'll smudge the paint underneath as they lick up the food, creating designs with their nose and tongue. When they're done, remove the plastic wrap and allow the paint to dry. Voila, a one-of-a-kind work from your doggy Da Vinci or kitty Kahlo!