10 Rainy Day Activities for Your Dog
It’s raining cats and dogs out there! While felines are usually quite content to while away the drippy day on their favorite perch, our canine buddies… well, we all know what happens when they get restless and bored. How can you release some of their boundless energy when the weather isn’t cooperating?
Protect your couch, shoes, and sanity with these helpful activities:
- It’s On: Tug of War. Your dog will work up a sweat — or a pant? Get a sturdy rope, and have fun! Tug of war should only be played when you initiate the game and when your dog willingly releases the rope on command.
- Become a Stairmaster. If you have stairs in your home or apartment building, use them. Toss the ball up and have your furry friend retrieve. If he doesn’t quite get it yet, don’t worry: he will with a few treats. You may have to show him the way and go up with him a few times. (This way, you get in your exercise too!).
- Roll with It. A long hallway is perfect for a good, tiring game of hall ball. Remove obstacles (shoes, end tables, etc.) and roll the ball down for him to race after.
- Teach an Old (or Young) Dog New Tricks. Mental stimulation is tiring for your best friend — and a tired dog is a happy, well-behaved dog. Work on some commands, reviewing the basics (sit, stay, come, shake paw, etc.) and expanding your repertoire.
And going back to tip #1: if your dog doesn’t release on command, practice “Drop It,” or “Leave It.”
Be sure to keep training sessions short (e.g. about 5-10 minutes) so it doesn’t become a chore.
- King KONG. KONG has saved many a rainy day. You can fill these rugged toys with healthy treats and/or meals to keep your dog occupied. For meal time, for example, mix your pet’s regular food with a bit of peanut butter, mashed banana, canned pumpkin, or cottage cheese. Spoon it into the Kong, seal the hole with a little peanut butter or cream cheese, and voila.
You can also pop KONGs in the freezer the night before to keep your pup stimulated longer. There are tons of recipes out there; find one your dog will love.
- Hide and Seek Beats Search and Destroy. Dogs often display disruptive behaviours when they are bored or under-exercised. To keep them happy — and your home in one piece — set up a pooch-friendly game of hide and seek.
Hide a few stuffed Kongs or other treat puzzles around the house for him to find throughout the day. The nose knows. He will be able to sniff them out, get a bit of activity, and enjoy some mental stimulation. (Remember to change up your hiding places if you get a stretch of bad weather!)
- Tennis, Anyone? No, you’re not going to train your dog to become the next Serena, but an investment in tennis balls will not be wasted. Grab an old muffin tin, put a few treats in random cups, and then place tennis balls on top of each cup in the tin. Your dog has to use his sniffer to find his reward. It’s a great DIY interactive feeder/treat puzzle.
- Living Room Obstacle Course. Why not? Use cushions, cardboard boxes, old hula hoops, rolled up towels, and other “obstacles” to create a course. For example, he may have to move through a tunnel made of couch cushions (better than him chewing on them!), weave through boxes, jump over towels or through the hoop, and then lie down on a mat at the end. Lead your dog through the course, rewarding him for his good work.
- You Won’t Melt. Get a doggie raincoat, put on your mud boots, and hit the trails, sidewalks, or park. Just towel pup off before he gets cozy on his dog bed.
- Let Him Relax with His Favourite Human. Phew… who’s tired after all this physical and mental exercise? Hopefully, your faithful companion! Curl up, queue up Netflix, and enjoy some quality time together. You’ve earned it.