It is a familiar story: you plan to spend some quality time with your dog on a much needed off day. You wake up early, get dressed, and grab the treats, leash, and ball. You and your dog are both ready for outdoor fun when you open the door and realize that falling rain has quickly put a damper on your day.
The couch is one option on a day like this, and chores are another option. But just like the Cat in the Hat said, there is still plenty of fun to be had. There are many indoor games you can play with your dog to keep both of your minds and bodies active, even on the rainiest of days.
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4 Rainy Day Activities for You and Your Dog
Mental stimulation is just as important to your dog as it is to you. Dogs are smart, they are observant, and they instinctually crave a job to do. They’ll get bored if their minds don’t stay busy.
Some dogs are natural herders, some like to hunt, while others enjoy foraging. Another dog’s entire reason for being is companionship, like the Shih Tzu.
There are dog puzzle toys to delight any breed and personality. Some puzzles can be rather challenging, so start with an easy one. Simply roll a ball across the floor. Get the bag of treats, sit on one side of the room, put some music on, and roll a blue or red ball across the floor.
Associate the ball with a treat to get your dog onboard with this activity. It can take about 20 minutes for your dog to grasp the concept of a rolling fetch. Encouragement is king. Once she understands that you want her to play with something, that is when you can upgrade to a beginner puzzle toy.
After some time, your dog will be ready for the more difficult puzzles for dogs.
Speaking from experience, once your dog gets the hang of a dog puzzle, it is a great way to occupy her time so you can get some work done.
This is a great game for kids and herding dogs. Tag can teach your dog to not nip while stimulating her need to herd. Block off a small area within an open area of your home. You can use a playpen or stacked pillows to create the fencing. Start off in the pen, walk around a bit and get your dog’s attention and then walk out and away. A herding dog should attempt to herd you back into the pen with her nose.
If she nips while she is herding, give her a firm boop on the nose and a stern verbal reminder that nipping is a no-no.
3. Hide and seek
Hide and seek is one of those fun rainy day activities, and you can play hide and seek in one of two ways. The first way is for you to hide, and then command your dog to recall, or come. Your dog does not need to know this command in order to play the game.
Start by putting your dog in one room and then telling her to stay. Next, hide under a blanket or behind a large piece of furniture, and tell your dog to come. Add some treats into the mix and this will keep her attention for hours.
In the long run, I promise, teaching your dog to come is an important safety tool, and well worth the effort. So good news, hide and seek for dogs is great for fun and training!
The second option for hide and seek is hiding and seeking toys and treats. Walk your dog around the room she where will be seeking. Next, secure yourself with her in another room. Let her see and smell the treat and toy you want her to find. Go to the previous room and hide the object(s). You may have to show your dog what to do at first. Then you can adjust the game to accommodate her skill level.
Once she gets the hang of it, and you want to keep her occupied while you’re doing other things, there are a few hide and seek puzzle toys for dogs.
4. Doga (or yoga)
Finally, doga is a great way to connect with your dog on any day. Your dog is in tune with your breathing, your emotions, and stress level. Your dog can be so connected to you she becomes a recipient of your ailments. Spending 30 minutes doing doga is good for everyone.
There are videos and breathing exercises available online.
Those who have tried the grounding technique claim it reduces anxiety in their dog and allows them to be more alert and ready for command.
How do you spend rainy days with your dog?
I’d love to hear about your rainy day activities with your dog. Leave a comment below, or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there!