Have you ever skipped a run because it was raining? That might work for you, but your dog still needs exercise every day. Dogs who don’t get enough active stimulation are more likely to engage in problem behaviors like digging, chewing, and barking or whining.
No matter the weather, your dog has energy to burn.
Here are a few ways to get your dog moving inside on the next rainy day:
1. Hide and go seek
This classic kids’ game is a great way to engage your dog and get him moving around the house. You can even use this game to teach your dog the “Find” command. Most dogs quickly learn that “Find” is a game, and can even learn to search for specific items when you say them together.
Here are three ways to play:
- Hide treats. Take some of your dog’s favorite treats and hide them around the house. Then say “Find Treats” and let your dog race around and find them.
- Hide a toy. Gather some treats and a favorite toy. Hide the toy. Make the first hiding spot easy. Say “Find [toy].” When your dog finds the toy, shower him with praise, attention, and a treat. Repeat, always saying “Find [toy]” and making the hiding spots progressively harder.
- Hide yourself. Have your dog stay and find a hiding spot for yourself. Again, pick an easy spot at first so your dog gets the hang of the game. Call your dog’s name and tell them to “Come” so they can find you and give lots of positive feedback when they succeed. Keep playing with harder hiding spots. If you have a second person, have one person stay with the dog while the other person hides. The person staying behind with the dog can then say “Find [name]” and teach the dog to search for that person. (This can also be a fun outdoor game when the weather is nice.)
Treat tip: With any of these activities, you want to avoid overdoing the treats. Use very small treats, like our Party Bites, as a healthy reward and use them paired with lavish attention to get your dog excited about the game. Once your dog is engaged, only offer treats occasionally, but give praise or play with a toy every time your dog completes the desired activity.
2. Obstacle course
If your dog is agile, set up an obstacle course and run your dog through it. Here are a few items you may have in your home to try:
- An open-ended box to crawl through
- A stool or crate to balance on
- A broom set across two chairs to go over or under or a hula hoop to jump through
- Toys to put in a basket or bin
- A chair to go under or jump onto
Teach your dog how to navigate each part of the course. Then, encourage your dog to go through it quickly several times. Offer treats and/or praise at the end.
3. Up and down the stairs
Stand at the bottom of the stairs with your kids and have them stay. Toss a toy or ball up the stairs and ask them to bring it back to you. Toss it again and have them retrieve it. Continue until your dogs are tired. This game works best for dogs that are agile on stairs and are not prone to hip problems. If you want a little exercise yourself, trying going up and down the stairs with your dog.
4. Chase games
Find a spot to play chase. A long hallway is perfect, but depending on your layout, you may be able to get your dog running through one or more rooms in your home.
Toss a ball or toy and have her bring it back. Alternately shine a laser pointer around the room and let her go after it. Just be careful not to shine it in her eyes.
5. Toy tag
This two-person game is a lot of fun for your dog. Each person should have some toys. Call your kid’s name. When she comes, give her a toy. Then have the other person call. Keep calling the dog back and forth. As the dog gets used to the game, move further away from each other or even into different rooms.
Here’s hoping for sunny weather, but when rain falls, you can keep your dog entertained, exercised, and happy with these games. And don’t forget to pick up some My Perfect Pet Food to celebrate!