Every year when the temperatures leap into rapid decline, Shiva’s energy boosts way up. There is nothing like a winter chill to add an extra shot of vigour into her already too-vigorous step. This doesn’t work so well for my lazy human self. While she is ready to run and bounce and take on the world, I am ready to sleep. The higher Shiva climbs the walls, the deeper I furrow into my blankets. To avoid permanent discord between us, I have a pretty decent arsenal of indoor activities that I can pull out when I’d rather let my dog jump on my head than go outside.
The Toilet Paper Roll Game
I shared a video of this game last year. Essentially, I just fill an empty toilet paper roll with treats, hide it somewhere in the house, and get Shiva to find it. It works really well and keeps her busy for a long time. K9 Nosework is a great way to tire her out. Well, it used to be. We have a small house and there are only so many places to tuck the roll away. Shiva is now pretty good at guessing all of my hiding spots. Either we are going to have to find a bigger house or I am going to have to come up with a better game.
I love training new tricks. I also love showing off Shiva’s now very impressive portfolio. (If I do say so myself.) There is nothing Shiva loves more than earning rewards. Learning tires out her brain long before it tires out her body but after a good five or ten minute session, she will at least lose the crazed look in her eyes. Unfortunately, the tricks I have chosen to work on lately are a little de-motivating for me and we’ve come to kind of a standstill. I need to come up with some new ideas, maybe find a simpler trick to learn that will be rewarding for both of us.
Tugging, retrieving, and other traditional games
The only thing Shiva might like just as much as earning treats is tugging. Indoors, it is her favourite game and she is pretty much always up for it. She could tug for hours and hours if I let her. Sadly, my stamina is just not up to her level and my arms tire much too fast for her liking. That’s why I have taught her to not only tug, but to retrieve the tug toy when I throw it. After a good bout, I’ll toss the toy for her to chase and give my shoulders a break. She likes it because she gets to run and knows she will be rewarded with a new tugging game when she brings the toy back. The only problem is, our floors can be a little slippery for a speeding dog who feels no pain. I wince every time she bangs into a wall or slides down the stairs. I don’t think we’ll be able to keep this up as she ages.
When all the toilet paper rolls are destroyed, when all my creative trick ideas are used up, and when my shoulders have completely collapsed, I turn to toys like the tricky treat ball and Nina Otosson’s Pyramid as a last resort. These toys always feel like cheating as they require no real interaction with me. But it’s good to have them around when I just can’t take the insanity any longer. With tonight’s predicted snow storm, I am grateful such things were invented!
How do you keep your dogs occupied when you’d rather not play outdoors? Do you have any fun trick suggestions? Any cool games to share? I’d love to hear them. It’s only November and already I am worried I will lose my mind!