Finding your curtains and shoes chewed upon by your Lab can be a sad sight. You can avoid all these and more destruction by introducing some fun indoor games. In case you were cringing upon having your dog indoors in the stormy weather seasons, there is an option for you.
When stuck inside with your four-legged friend, get creative, and choose a game. Remember, a bored dog causes more harm than good.
- Tug of war
- Stuffed Kong
- Hide and seek
- Stairway dash
- Obstacle course
- Cleaning up its toys
- “Which hand game?”
- Find the treat
- Naming the toys game
- The three-cup game
- Food dispensing toys
- Dog puzzles
- Cardio Twists
- The hall- ball game
- Bubbles game
- Teaching your dog new tricks
Tug of war
Before starting this game, ensure your Lab has good ‘drop it’ and ‘leave it’ command response. This is precautionary in case it gets rowdy or starts chewing on the toy. You should use some toys that are easy for you and the dog to hold. Better yet, you can get an old t-shirt and split it into sizeable strips. Tie these pieces together to form a colorful rope-like toy. When playing tug of war, you can let your Lab win. Contrary to some beliefs, letting the dog win will not encourage dominance. After all, it is a fun game between both of you. Be keen not to fall too hard, though. A large dog like a Labrador retriever can overpower you.
The ever-playful Lab will enjoy this to bits. It involves putting some healthy treats inside a kong. You can freeze it for the best results. Once frozen overnight, give your dog the kong and watch it last for more than thirty minutes. Since the Lab likes chewing, the kong gives it some stimulus while playing. No need to worry about dents. Most kongs are durable and non-toxic because the material used to make them is quite hardy. They are dishwasher safe too. Say goodbye to chewed shoes. What a relief!
Hide and seek
Like your childhood days, this game is classic for indoor fun. You can make use of the many rooms in your house to make it challenging. Involve some more family members to make this game more fun-filled. Let one person hold your dog and choose a place to hide. Give the command to find you when you have found a place you think it can’t find you. Since your dog has mastered your scent, high chances are it will sniff its way to your hiding place. You can even call its name to encourage it to find you. Give lots of praise when it figures out where you are hiding. A good pointer, playing this game when your Lab knows the ‘stay’ command is easier. This way, when you do not have anyone to hold the dog, it can stay put as you hide.
Lucky you if you have stairs in your home. You can fill your Lab’s time with tiring entertainment by throwing some things up the stairs. A tossed ball is a popular toy of choice. Encourage it to retrieve it and bring it to the bottom of the stairway. This game will feel more like its training for hunting. For the love of retrieving, your dog will bring the tossed ball back to you. Catch, toss and encourage it to bring it to you several times. Be warned. This game is only suitable for dogs over the age of a year. If your dog is under a year old, its joints are still developing. Playing a stairway dash can strain your puppy and cause dysfunctional joints. Save it for its first birthday, please, will you?
Labrador retrievers love moving around a whole lot. Turn your living room into a Disneyland by stacking up some household items together. Here are some creative things to use:
- A hula hoop to jump through
- A basket alongside some toys where it can drop off
- A kitchen chair it can jump on or run under
- A box with two open ends for crawling through
- A ball to catch
- A stool, crate or other items to balance on
With these laid up together, guide your Lab through. After some time, it will know to understand the game. Ensure you offer lots of praise once your Lab is able to pass an obstacle. Making it fun for your Lab using treats along the game will get your Lab hooked.
Cleaning up its toys
Is the rain outside stealing all your happiness? No more. You can have fun by teaching your Lab how to clean up its toys. With this, you can forget dirty surfaces. Start off by teaching your Lab how to respond to the ‘put it away’ command. For this, you can have a basket where it can put away some toys. Set an example yourself by picking a toy on the floor, and then drop it in the basket. When you see your Lab understanding the command, scatter many toys across the floor. Use the ‘put away’ command and watch it move from one room to another, bringing the toys to the basket. Offer a treat for every toy picked and watch your Lab sweep your surfaces clean.
“Which hand game?”
Nothing beats this mental stimulus game for your dog. Since Labrador retrievers are intelligent dogs, you’ll want to engage them. It involves lots of guesswork and fun too! Place some dog treats in your hand and act as if shuffling your hands. Bring the hands at the front of your Lab’s eyes and encourage it to choose which hand holds the treat. It can use its paw to show or lick your hand. Give lots of praise plus the treat if it gets the correct hand. If it fails to choose the hand with the treat, encourage your Lab, and repeat the game. After some consistent play, your Lab will notice and even master your sequence. It can even predict, so make sure you don’t run out of treats.
Find the treat
Who said you couldn’t play treasure hunt with your dog? Find the treat gives you that opportunity where you’ll use some edible dog treats. This indoor game is great for training your Labrador retriever to use its nose. Once you have some dog treats with you, place them in someplace within the house, letting your lab watch. Encourage it to find the treat from where you have hidden it. Move to level two of the game once your Lab finds the treat. In this level, place the treats under some harder spaces to find. You can opt for under a rug, mat, or under the pillow. Encourage your dog to sniff its way through and give lots of praise when it finds the treat.
Labs respond to this game quicker than other dog breeds. Their ability to smell with keenness is often used in their hunting training. You can use this game as an introduction to hunting for your lab puppy. After mastering the use of treats, you can then advance to level three. In this level, use money, a watch, or an item of your choice and encourage the dog to sniff it. It will do so well, and you’ll understand why police prefer to use them as sniffer dogs.
Naming the toys game
You may have seen or heard of Chaser the Border collie who can name 1000 of his toys. Now that you know it’s possible, your Lab can be such an achiever too!
- Have some of your dog’s toys with you and let the dog sit.
- Starting with one toy, give it a name and call upon it as you raise the toy up for your Lab to see.
- You can repeat this up to 30 times.
- Place the toy, among other toys, and name the one you taught your Lab about.
- Notice your dog pick it from among the other toys and praise when it picks the correct one.
- Introduce other toys with names and let your Lab know them. With time, your pooch will become a master of words.
The three-cup game
This is another nose game that involves 3 cups and a load of treats. Load some treats under one cup, leaving the rest empty. Line them up in front of your dog in a row set. Allow the dog to sniff the cups and find the right one where the treat is. You can advance the game for your Lab by exchanging the cups. Make sure you don’t hasten your pace of the game too fast as it can make your Lab frustrated instead of enjoying the game. In case, you notice your Lab is having a difficult time at first, use plastic see-through cups. All in all, this mental stimulating game will make your pooch beg for more.
Food dispensing toys
These toys come with food inside and need your dog to work around how to let it out. This game can be engaging to your labs for hours. Labrador retrievers have a natural instinct to search for food like other dogs. This challenging game offers mental stimulus to it, pushing its limits to find the food exit. If the dog figures out how to remove the treats, fill the toy up for another round. You can make your own food dispensing toys at home with inexpensive materials. For this, you can use plastic bottles or plastic containers. Ensure your dog has eaten his normal meals before playing this game. It is not meant for a hungry dog but as a fun game with treats.
A bored dog is a destructive dog. With this in mind, puzzles offer a solution to keep your dog active and well behaved. Found in a variety of pet stores, dog puzzles come in many shapes, forms and sizes. You will need to start with the basic level puzzles first as you introduce this type of game to your Lab. To play, the dog can put pieces together using its paw. Don’t feel left out yet. In a two-player, you can ask it where a piece goes, and it chooses the correct one. For the creative mind, you can make your own puzzle using a muffin tin and some tennis balls.
When you’re cooped up inside with your family members, engage your dog in a joint cardio workout. The game involves setting up poles using some household items that you can move through. Place them in different sections and leave enough room to weave between. If you lack the items, using your family members as poles is an acceptable option. Let them stand at the specific places you’ve set.
Leading the game, move from one ‘pole’ to another as you encourage your Lab to follow. As you change direction, your dog will have to master the steps and follow. This fun-filled game is sure to set the house on some laughter when either of you misses their step.
The hall- ball game
This game only applies if you have a large and long hallway. More like the game of fetch, it involves encouraging your Lab to retrieve. Move to the hallway with your Lab and use a ball to entice him. Throw the ball to the other side of your hallway and watch your pooch go for it. You can choose to use a ball that bounces to make it more fun for your dog. You can add another player by having a family member on the other end of the hallway. If your Lab doesn’t catch the bouncy ball first, your partner will throw it to you. Go fast or slow, depending on the activity level of your dog. Remember not to play this game immediately after mealtimes, as it can lead to poor digestion for your Lab.
Blowing some bubbles is not only fun to your toddler but also to your Lab. You can teach and enjoy chasing bubbles with your Lab by using some water and soapy water only. Once you load up the soapy water in a bottle, mix up and use the blowing handle to blow out some bubbles. Your dog will jump up and down as it aims to pop as many as it can. What a fun way to enjoy your indoor stay!
Teaching your dog new tricks
Even if it’s old, your dog can learn some new tricks. There are a bunch of many tricks suitable for dogs at any age. An example is your dog jumping through many hula hoops. Spend some time teaching your Lab something it can use to impress the neighbors.
Playing with your Labrador retriever is not only limited to being outdoors. You can bond with your canine indoors by being creative while using some tricks and treats. After a groom for your Lab, the other way to keep it in high spirits is having some fun time. Always know that, no matter how many toys you give your dog to play with, you are enough a playmate. No wonder a dog is a man’s best friend. Learn more about Labrador retrievers on our blog.