Want to subscribe to our blog?

5 Ways To Provide Mental Stimulation For Dogs In Winter

Written by ADAPTIL Expert, published on January 25, 2024

Share on:

As the winter chill settles in, our canine companions can naturally find themselves cooped up indoors more often, which may lead to restlessness and boredom. Ensuring your dog’s mental well-being is just as important as their physical health, and the winter season provides a unique opportunity to engage their minds.

In this blog, we’ll explore five creative ways to provide mental stimulation for dogs during the winter months. From interactive games and puzzles to indoor training exercises and sensory experiences, these activities are designed to not only keep your furry friend entertained, but also strengthen the bond between you and your beloved pet throughout the cold season. 

Interactive Feeding

A great way to engage your dog’s mind is by making the most of mealtime. Rather than an ordinary approach to feeding, consider a thrilling treasure hunt! Simply take your dog’s usual food and hide it around the house. The physical effort required by your dog to search for their food will engage their senses and stimulate their mind, providing the mental stimulation that dogs in winter desperately need. This can combat boredom while also encouraging problem-solving skills, sniffing, and foraging instincts – a win-win solution for both you and your pup!

You could always add ADAPTIL Chew as something delicious for your dog to find (with the added benefit of relaxing your pup).

Interactive Dog Toys

On a similar theme, interactive toys are another effective and enjoyable method to provide mental stimulation for dogs in winter. These toys engage your dog’s mind and provide both mental and physical exercise. From treat-dispensing puzzles to engaging squeaky toys, the variety of options available can keep your pup entertained and mentally sharp during the chilly season. 

Indoor Training


Owner training her dog inside with a ball.

The winter season is an ideal time to work on obedience cues, new tricks, or agility exercises right in the comfort of your home. This not only keeps their mind engaged but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion. Is there a trick you wish your dog knew? Or a cue your pup is yet to master? The winter is the perfect time to work on these, providing mental stimulation for dogs in a way that benefits both of you together.

Before you begin, it’s a good idea to create a calm environment that’s suitable for learning. ADAPTIL Calm Diffuser is a great way to achieve this. All you have to do is plug the diffuser in wherever your dog spends most of their time and the appeasing pheromones will help your dog feel reassured and ready for training for the next 30 days!

Let Your Dog Sniff and Explore On Walks

A very simple way of keeping your dog fulfilled is letting your dog sniff and explore on walks. Instead of walking a great distance, it can be more beneficial, especially in the winter, for dogs to have a ‘sniff walk’. Winter is the perfect opportunity for your dog to engage their senses, making the stroll far more enriching and fulfilling for any dog’s mental stimulation.

While the temptation might be to rush through the cold, allowing your dog to investigate their surroundings allows them to use their keen sense of smell and therefore satisfy their natural curiosity. The various scents in the winter air, the rustling of leaves, or the sight of frost-covered landscapes can captivate your dog’s mind and keep them mentally engaged. So, even in the frosty season, give your furry friend the gift of an unhurried walk, which will benefit you both for the rest of the day. And always make sure you and your pup are well prepared for a winter walk!

Dog and its owner walking through the snow


Hide And Seek

Engaging in a game of hide and seek can be a wonderful source to increase mental stimulation in dogs, especially during the winter when outdoor activities and  ways to exercise may be limited. This interactive game not only provides exercise but also challenges your dog’s problem-solving abilities and sharpens their senses. 

Hide and seek allows your dog to tap into their natural instincts of searching and sniffing. You can hide toys around the house and encourage your pup to find them. This not only keeps your dog’s mental stimulation up but also deepens the bond between you and your dog. Start by having your dog stay while you hide toys in a different room or behind furniture. Then, call them in to find their toys.

Or why not try shaking things up a little? Rather than hiding your dog’s toys, you can hide yourself! After this kind of activity, your dog is very likely to be tuckered out for the evening!


Two dogs hiding under the curtain.

Obstacle Courses

Obstacle courses aren’t just fun and games for dogs; they offer a multitude of benefits, especially during the winter months when mental stimulation in dogs is essential. These courses encourage a dog’s problem-solving skills, providing a mental workout that keeps the boredom at bay. 

For dogs in winter, where outdoor activities are limited, this is the perfect way for your dog to burn off excess energy and stay in shape. Whether it’s a tunnel behind the sofa made from a bed sheet or weaving between cardboard boxes and jumping onto cushions, obstacle courses are a fantastic way to keep your dog fulfilled. 

Or if this level of excitement inside the house sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, look up whether there are any local indoor dog parks with agility courses. Not only does your dog receive the exercise they need, but they can also be a great winter option for  socialising with other dogs.

You can keep up to date with our latest guides, Q&As, tips and advice by signing up for our newsletter. If you’d like any more tips on keeping your dog enriched during the winter, then  get in touch. We’re always interested in hearing more about your dogs’ situations and how we can help!

Following our expert tips will help to ensure your bond with your dog goes from strength to strength.

Make sure to join our community for weekly advice from our dog behaviour experts as well as product offers and competitions. 

Related Posts

19 Ways to Comfort Your Dog in Stressful Situations

19 Ways to Comfort Your Dog in Stressful Situations

Helping your dog cope with stressful situations is key to forming a strong relationship...
Read More
Dog Anxiety – 4 Things Every Owner Should Know

Dog Anxiety – 4 Things Every Owner Should Know

New puppy owner or long-term pet parent? There are 4 things all owners should...
Read More
Happy Dog Expert: Help A Dog With Grief

Happy Dog Expert: Help A Dog With Grief

Dogs can grieve, though not always in the ways we expect. Here we explain...
Read More
Traveling With A Puppy In A Car

Traveling With A Puppy In A Car

At some point in their life, you're puppy will have to jump in your...
Read More

Subscribe to our blog to benefit from our tips and tricks

Legal notice The information collected is intended for Ceva Santé Animale and the group in order to manage your requests. This information can be shared with service providers in order to organize their management. In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations, you have the right to access, rectify and limit the processing of your data. You can also, in certain cases, object to the processing, withdraw your consent and request the deletion and portability of your data. For any request in relation to your personal data, please visit this page.