Fun Indoor Games

Indoor Activities-2Sometimes it seems like the hot summer days will never end.  Being trapped beneath the cool air conditioning keeps us comfortable, but can get excessively boring for both people and pets.  If you’re bored with constantly being indoors, chances are  your pet is too.  This may be the perfect time to try some new Indoor Games!

Choosing games that provide interesting and thought-provoking activities for your pet is beneficial to their overall mental and physical well-being. Engaging them in challenging games can help prevent behavior problems, reduce the risk of obesity, and help them avoid anxiety and stress. Some games and toys are not only fun, but also help your pet’s mind stay sharp and strong. The best part is, many such games can be played indoors and are easy to do with a few simple ideas and inexpensive toys.

For starters, feeding our pets should be more of an adventure for them than just eating their food out of a bowl. Since dogs and cats are scavengers and hunters, we are literally taking the thrill out of the hunt when we dump their food into a bowl. They enjoy the hunt for food, not just the food itself. A great way to facilitate this need is to buy a food puzzle. Food puzzles are inexpensive and come in a variety of shapes and styles specifically designed for dogs or cats. It can be a great way to stimulate their problem-solving skills and help them fulfill their primal instincts to hunt and scavenge. They will enjoy the challenge of retrieving the treat and you will enjoy watching them try!

Another stimulating activity for both dogs and cats is “Hide the Treat”.  Simply take a few favorite pet snacks and place them in a bowl where your pet can see them. Then, take them out of the bowl and hide them throughout the house. This game will encourage their natural scavenging instincts and will give them a little exercise in the process. It is always much more exciting to find a treasure than to have it handed to you.

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging for you and your pet to enjoy together, you might want to try “The Three Cup Game”.  All you need are 3 small cups and an appetizing pet treat. Place the treat under one of the cups and see if your dog or cat will push the cup over to get it. After they have mastered that, start moving the cups around and see if they can still find it. While this game is typically more appealing to dogs, many cats enjoy it as well. (Of course, as with anything else, your cat will quickly let you know if he considers this game worthy of his participation.)

When it comes to cats, it is sometimes the simplest things that keep them engaged and entertained. Cat toys can come in the form of boxes, paper bags, and balls. Simple toys like these are perfect for stimulating your feline’s natural desire to hide, stalk, and pounce. These are also great items to leave out for your cat when you’re away at work. Try switching out the items every couple of days and leave them in different rooms of the house.  When you’re at home with your cat, see if you can interest them in a motorized mouse or a feather dancer toy. Try tossing a ping pong ball down the hall and see what happens.  Anything that engages your cat’s predatory instincts is mentally and physically healthy for them.

For our canine friends, indoor entertainment might be easier than you think. Their desire to learn and accomplish tasks gives us a variety of fun activities to choose from, including teaching them new tricks. Try teaching your dog to retrieve your slippers or pick up his toys and put them in a basket. Or, teach your dog the names of his toys and have him retrieve the one you ask for.  Maybe it’s time for him to learn how to turn on/off the lights or to retrieve his leash? There are so many possibilities and so many things that dogs enjoy learning.

In addition to new tricks, your dog may also enjoy some new indoor games like “The Which Hand Game”.  To play this game, simply place a treat in one of your hands and close your fists. Hold your fists in front of your dog and ask him which hand it’s in.  If he nudges or paws at the correct hand, give him the treat. If he chooses incorrectly, try again while giving him lots of encouragement. It may take him a few tries to get the hang of it, but once he gets a few winning snacks under his belt he’s sure to improve.

Hide and Seek is another great game many dogs love to play.  Start by telling your dog to sit and stay while you go find a hiding spot in the house.  Once you’re hidden, call him to come find you. When he finds you (which hopefully he will), give him lots of enthusiastic praise and love. Your dog may insist on playing this game over and over again if you’re willing.

No matter which activities you choose to share with your pet, the most important thing is the time spent together. Discovering new games and activities that help keep your pet’s mind fresh and strong is something you will both enjoy. #