Indoor Enrichment for Puppies

July 12, 2022

If you’re reading this blog from the South like us here in Houston, it’s HOT. It’s getting harder and harder to keep our pups entertained with outdoor activities with the rising heat. Leash walking and dog parks, although a great way to burn energy can become more dangerous and increase the risk of overheating this time of year. If you have a new puppy, this can be an even greater struggle as we know they have tons of energy to burn! Heat safety is super important, so we are here today to give alternative ways to provide indoor enrichment opportunities for your puppies. Let’s talk first about what enrichment means, and some ways you can get your puppy active and tired out without having to leave the house.

What is enrichment?

Enrichment is the action of improving or enhancing the quality or value of something. The idea of enrichment for your puppy, simply put, means engaging them in activities which stimulate them mentally and physically. For canines, enrichment can come in many forms.

Physical Enrichment

Playtime and socially stimulating environments can be great ways to engage your puppy. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Throw a tennis ball against the wall in the house
  • Play hide and seek room to room for “come” or recall
  • Wrestle play or tug (as long as your puppy doesn’t have a problem with chewing and play biting)
  • 1-on-1 play dates at yours or a friend’s house with their friendly and vaccinated pets
  • Inviting human friends over or going to their homes and allowing them to interact with your puppy  
Ball play indoors can be fun!

Food as Enrichment

If you looked at our Best ways to feed your puppy blog back in April, we layed out a few ways that meals and treats can work to your benefit. To recap, here’s a few of our favorites that can help with mentally enriching your puppy:

  • Feed your puppy’s meals and treats out of a puzzle toy: Snuffle mats, Kongs, toy wobblers, treat balls, etc.
  • Ice cubes
  • Frozen treats – Here are a few of our favorite recipes 

Freeze your kongs or use paste to challenge your puppy even further!

Training as Enrichment

If you are trying to beat the heat, working on indoor focused training and obedience can be a great way to stimulate your puppy mentally. 

Almost any obedience command can be taught inside:

Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Place, Wait, Fetch, Leave It and Kennel are all great options. 

For behavior modification in puppies:

Working on addressing jumping by teaching an incompatible behavior like autosit, or working on introducing your puppy to appropriate toys in the house to help address chewing and play biting is a win-win for energy burn and teaching your puppy manners. 

If you are looking for more training and enrichment tips, reach out to your area’s local Certified Animal Behavior Consultant. If you are in Houston or the surrounding area, we are all ears!