10 Dog Enrichment Ideas During the Winter

As the days grow colder, you might find yourself bundling up more and venturing out less. But what about your four-legged friend? Dogs need mental and physical stimulation regardless of the season. Don’t let the winter blues dampen your dog’s spirit. Here are some ideas to keeping your pup’s tail wagging with the best winter enrichment activities and games.

1. Indoor Agility Course: Create a fun obstacle course inside your home using chairs, blankets, and boxes. Guide your dog through the course with treats and plenty of encouragement. It’s a great way to keep them moving and thinking.

2. Hide and Seek: This classic game isn’t just for kids. Hide somewhere in your house and call your dog. Their natural seeking instinct will kick in, and the reunion will be a joyous one. This game enhances their problem-solving skills and strengthens your bond.

3. Puzzle Toys: Invest in some puzzle toys that challenge your dog to think and maneuver to get their treats. These toys are great for stimulating their brain and can keep them occupied for hours.

4. Tug-of-War: A good old game of tug-of-war can be quite a workout. It’s perfect for indoor play and can help your dog burn off some of that pent-up energy. Just make sure you’re using a dog-safe rope and that you teach them to release on cue.

5. Scent Work: Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. Hide treats around the house and let your dog sniff them out. This “nose work” is mentally stimulating and lets your dog use their natural skills.

6. Teach New Tricks: Winter is a great time to teach your dog new tricks or cues. Whether it’s rolling over, playing dead, or fetching a specific item, learning keeps their brain sharp. Plus, it’s a wonderful way for you to spend quality time together.

7. Doggy Playdates: If your dog enjoys socializing, arrange playdates with a friend’s dog. This can be indoors or out. Just make sure both dogs are comfortable and well-supervised.

8. Snowy Adventures: For those days when it’s not too cold, take your dog out for a romp in the snow. Many dogs love plunging into the fluffy white stuff, and it’s a great way for them to exercise. Always check their paws for ice balls and make sure they’re warm enough. DOWNLOAD our Winter Safety & Fun for Dogs – a seasonal take action guide – for more winter safety info.

9. Snuffle Box: Instead of a walk on a chilly day, keep your dog engaged with this mentally stimulating, boredom-buster activity that uses common items found around your home. GET DIRECTIONS>>

10. Relaxation Time: After a day full of activities, your dog needs time to relax and so do you. Create a cozy space with blankets and their favorite toy, where they can unwind and rest.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what excites one might not interest another. Pay attention to your dog’s preferences and limitations. Most importantly, whatever you do, infuse it with love and patience. Your dog’s wagging tail and bright eyes will let you know you’re on the right track. Here’s to a winter filled with joy, play, and lots of tail wags!

DOWNLOAD our Activities & Enrichment take action guide full of year round engaging games and activities from our partners, including Barrington Barks & Behavior, You and Your Dog Training & Services, Canine Strong, Miss Behavior, and Red Pointy Dog. Try with your pup to keep them stimulated this winter. 

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