dog waitingIt has been a long, cold winter here in Billings; and even with the spring “teaser days” we’ve gotten recently it’s likely that you and your pets may be getting a little stir crazy.

Keeping your pets physically and mentally stimulated is important no matter the weather. But often it seems to be more important than ever when you have to stay indoors and can’t get out to play as often as you and your pet might like.

If you are in need of a few ideas to keep your pet active until spring, check out the following ideas for keeping life exciting this winter…

  • Teach your old dog new tricks. Take some time to work on the basics like ‘sit’ or ‘down’. If your pet already has basic obedience commands under control, try a fun new trick instead.  There are many books and websites that have lots of ideas to work on, from ringing a bell to playing dead the options are seemingly endless. And, with a little practice, your pet will soon be the life of your next party.
  • Take a class. Many pet obedience schools have indoor (and heated!) facilities for their classes. Learning basic obedience, trying out agility, or working toward an AKC Canine Good Citizen title are great ways to keep your dog physically active and mentally invigorated.
  • Play a game of hide-and-seek. Try hiding your pet’s favorite toy, a special treat, or even yourself and encourage them to find it.
  • Look for a new toy. Many newer pet toys are interactive. Look for puzzles or treat-dispensing items that will keep your dog or cat entertained for hours. If your pet tolerates public outings well, consider taking him or her along to the pet store to look
  • Find an indoor destination. Many areas have indoor dog parks or doggy daycares with indoor playgrounds for pets to work off some energy. You’ll both be happy to get out of the house and to work the wiggles out.
  • Play a new game. If it is safe, consider a game of fetch in a hallway or buy a laser pointer for your pet to chase. Even something as simple as blowing some bubbles can be a great way to chase the winter blues away.

Don’t let Mother Nature put a damper on your pet’s fun and exercise. There are plenty of entertaining, healthy activities to keep you and your pet busy for the rest of the winter. And never fear…. Spring is right around the corner.