In my last post, I talked about small dogs in winter, and how we keep Daisy's little body warm in these frigid winter temperatures. While the outdoor elements are one thing, it also takes energy and effort to keep her entertained and exercised while cooped up indoors. Daisy has a good amount of energy and if she can't get rid of it, she's not much fun to deal with. We can never get upset about it - she's a dog and she has to have an outlet - no ifs, ands, or buts!
How do you keep a little dog with big energy occupied? Here are our "go-tos" to keep her entertained indoors:
- Socializing. We take her out to socialize at every opportunity we can. This primarily involves family and friend's houses. While we enjoy having people over at our place, it's still nice to get out, and our family and friends are great for letting us bring her with us. Being housebroken and small helps with that big time (not everyone we know loves dogs as much as us!).
- Playtime. Every evening involves playtime in our big basement with assorted squeaky toys, which are great for fetch and tug. She LOVES her squeaky elephant and lion, and to make sure she doesn't get bored of them, they're kept downstairs for designated playtime. The most recent toy we bought is a rope with a squeaky toy at the end from Petvalu. It's like a cat toy but for dogs. It's AWESOME! It's great to whip around while on the couch - in other words, perfect to use after a busy day at work. Luckily we have our theater set up in the basement too, so everyone can relax while having fun.
- Sniffing games. I put her in our spare room while I hide treats all over the living room and kitchen. I've been using my homemade dog treats of peanut butter and pumpkin (my one pumpkin from the garden!). They break up easily so she gets lots of little pieces. I release her from the room and she has to find them all. She loves this. It keeps her busy and she really looks to me to help guide her. A good bonding game.
- Bison tendons. She goes crazy for these and they keep her busy for a good long time. They are Canadian made and completely natural. These are great if we want to watch a movie or are super tired but she's in no mood to lay around. Sometimes these can keep her busy for over an hour.
- Take her to work. I work in a pet friendly environment, and while I don't take her very often (she's still so young and energetic that she demands more attention than I can give when I'm busy), I'll take her when I know my schedule isn't hectic or when I know we'll be busy in the evening. I can't bear to leave her at home during the day AND evening. That's just cruel in my opinion. After a day at my work, she's exhausted and happy to relax in the evening while we're out. Lucky for her, it's rare for us to go out where we can't bring her!
- Teach tricks. So far she knows sit, down, stay, and come (after being in the stay position). She's really good at catching her toys in the air too. Her squeaky elephant and lion are great for this, making me proud of her 'mouth eye' coordination! I feel this belongs in the "trick" category, haha!
I've contemplated taking her to doggy day care, but because she takes so long to like other dogs I just think she'd be too stressed out. I'm also nervous and paranoid about leaving her with other people. I'd like to co-ordinate doggy play dates with some people from work who also have small dogs, but that can take time with everyone's busy schedules.
Are you a small dog owner? What do you do to keep your dog busy in bad weather?