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Here in Vancouver, it’s raining again.

It rained yesterday. It will probably rain tomorrow. And most of next week. And all of March. This is why you might not want to live in a rain forest; eight or so months of driving rain. Since my puggle thinks he is made of sugar, spice and everything nice and therefore, that he will melt into an extremely attractive puddle if he gets wet, we don’t spend much time out of doors once the weather turns. Sure, we still go for walks, but when you’ve got this face staring back at you, they tend to be short and to the point. Meandering could get you shanked in your sleep.

“Why do you do this to me? I hate the rain.”

I’m not the only one with weather woes though. Temperatures in Sydney, Australia this week might top 90 degrees. One friend of mine has enough snow that their small dog could get lost in the yard. Another friend claims that you might as well be walking on the sun if you try to walk your dog in an AZ summer. There are a lot of reasons you might not be able to spend as much time outside as you might like.

If your dogs are anything like mine, they go a bit stir crazy when we spend too much time inside.

By “a bit stir crazy” I mean that Kolchak goes woofing bananas. He starts bouncing off the walls literally. He barks at the fridge. He herds his brother. He runs the length of the apartment like his feet are on fire. He is absolutely nuts. It’s like living with a tiny Andy Dyck. I put a whole lot of time and effort into keeping him occupied in the house, so that we can both keep our sanity.

We live in an apartment, so I try to be respectful of our neighbours and that means not playing fetch in the hallways because my 25 lb. puggle makes the same amount of noise as a herd of stampeding elephants. Tug of war gets a little loud and I’m pretty sure it sounds like Godzilla is on a rampage in my apartment. We used to play tag in the house, but if 25 lbs of Koly running around shakes the apartment, I can only imagine what {number redacted} lbs of me would do. A lot of indoor dog games are loud and physical, and therefore, not apartment friendly and not great for dogs with injuries. So, our go to boredom buster is to work on training. January is Train Your Dog Month and every year we’ve taken the chance to work on some problem behaviours, like the year we taught Kolchak to sleep in or  when we taught Felix that the hall wasn’t full of monsters, so he could stop barking at the door.

This year, however, we aren’t trying to break any bad habits. Maybe we should be because Felix has turned into a bold little turkey, but I’m taking some time to enjoy his newfound boldness and sass before we tackle learning basic obedience.

We’ve worked on trick training, plus played a huge amount of tug of war on the bed  (to muffle noise) and spent time letting the dogs solve a variety of their favourite dog puzzles, but to be honest, the usual fun and games is feeling a bit stale. Fun stops being fun, if it’s what you do all the time.

Mychelle Blake, the President and CEO of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers was kind enough to help me out with some new ideas for keeping a dog entertained indoors.



  • Attend on-going classes that are more like fun and games
    Dog games like agility or nose work can be a great way to break the boredom and they are genuinely a lot of fun for both dogs and their people.
  • Can you do it now?”
    Ask your dog to do a command s/he knows, but you are doing something different. For example, your dog can sit if you are standing in front of them with a treat in your hand, but what if you turn your back and ask them? Can they do it now? What if you are sitting on the couch? Lying flat on the floor? Standing on your bed? Standing on top of the kitchen table? If you ask in a high sqeaky voice? A low gorilla voice? (Holy woof you guys, this one is so much fun and trying to figure out silly ways to stump Kol gets me giggling every time!)
  • Hide and Seek
    Did you know dogs can play this classic kid’s game too? Put your dog in a down/sit – stay, then go hide. Call the dog to you. This game is fantastic for working on both your dog’s sit/stay and their recall, plus it strengthens the human-animal bond. Hide under the bed, in closets, under a pile of laundry. It’s fun!
  • Treat and Seek
    Kol loves this game so much he wishes it was on the list twice! First, put your dog in down/sit –stay and hide several treats around the house. Release them from their stay and let them follow their nose to find the snacks. At first, you want to hide them in easy places, but eventually you can make it harder. Try hiding treats in unexpecteted places, like above your dog’s head or behind things. Kol’s Note: Use caution with any dog who is a resource guarder. Keep track of how many treats you hide and make sure they are all found or put away when you’re done playing.


What indoor games do you play with your dog? How do you keep them busy when the weather keeps you inside?

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