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DOG / training & behavior

Indoor Activities and Training to Do with Your Dog

Keep your dog busy when it’s too cold or hot to go outside


If rain, snow or the summer heat are putting a damper on your outdoor plans, don’t worry, you can still have fun with your dog! Try these tricks from our PetSmart training expert to stimulate your buddy’s brain:


If your pup still needs to master the virtue of patience, now is your chance to teach them! Start by putting a treat or toy at one end of a hallway while keeping your leashed dog at the other end. First, get your dog to sit politely. Then slowly walk with your dog toward the prize. If he or she pulls, say “Uh-oh!” and go back to the starting line. Repeat until your dog can make it all the way down the hall without tugging — and then it’s time for the prize! The lesson they learn: When you control yourself, you’ll get the goodies.

Doorbell manners

It’s a familiar scene in most dog households: barking, jumping, and a whole lot of excitement when visitors arrive. Keep your dog safely out of the way by training them to sit on a special mat near the door when the bell rings. Start without the doorbell. Just practice walking to the front door and sending your dog to a mat placed nearby for this purpose.

Once your dog has the hang of this, add the doorbell. Ask someone who is already inside the house (so your dog doesn’t get too overexcited) to go outside and ring the doorbell. When the bell rings, try sending your dog to the mat.

Once your dog has mastered this step, progress to letting the person in while your dog stays on the mat. From there, you can progress to having other people ring the doorbell.

Master the “stay” command

The “stay” command is infinitely useful for keeping your dog out of trouble — but only if the dog listens no matter what is going on. Now is the time to practice getting your dog to “stay” despite any distractions.

Once your dog knows “stay” and is able to do it for 30 seconds to a minute under normal circumstances, you two can work on a more advanced version. First, give your dog the “stay” command. Then start messing with him or her. Do a few jumping jacks, lie on the floor, walk away, open a door, have the kids run through the room, ring the doorbell…all the while continuing to redirect your dog to “stay.” With practice, your pet will become as unflappable as a guard at Buckingham Palace.

Need more indoor training ideas? PetSmart training classes are always held inside, so you and your dog can go no matter what the weather.

For information on PetSmart Accredited Training, please visit the PetSmart training page.