Friday, May 31, 2013

Rain Rain Go Away

This past week has been horrible for getting the dogs outside. According to my dogs, this rain is definitely acid rain and they will most certainly die a screaming, painful, horrible death if they even so much as touch a toe outside. So they might be drama queens <rolling eyes here>, but it does call into question - what do you do with your dogs when you can't exercise outside? If you have dogs like mine (heaven help you!!) then they are becoming increasingly annoying with no activity outlet. Never fear, there are tons of things you can do inside to tire them out mentally and get them to chill out.

Let us know when it's safe to go outside again...

Frozen Kongs/Bones/Food Puzzles

Stuff your dog's dinner in a kong with some peanut butter (or wet dog food or babyfood or ... you get the picture) and freeze it. It'll take much longer for your dogs to work out their meal, which burns more mental (and even some physical!) energy. Also, if your dog is a chewer they can work out energy through chewing on toys or bones as well. If your dog has a lot of energy, disregard feeding in bowls altogether and feed from food puzzles. I like to order from Firecracker Dog (we have several of these!!).


With a treadmill you can safely exercise your dog in your home whenever your dog needs it. You can use a regular (aka one made for humans) treadmill or one that is specifically designed for dogs. Dog-specific treadmills can be a bit pricey but seem to be easier for the dog's to learn to use. If you use a regular treadmill, you might want to modify it by putting barriers up on the sides so they can't jump off. Here is some advice from Bad Rap for getting started with a dog-powered (no motor) treadmill.


Hide and seek is a great game to play inside. Have your dog do a sit stay (or throw some treats in a corner to distract them) while you go hide in another room. Then call for your dog and have them find you! You can also play this with treats and toys (hiding them instead of yourself) and having your dog seek them out. Of course, there is always fetch (try to play this on the stairs - if they don't have hip/joint problems) and tug. And don't forget about nosework! We love these classic games!!

Flirt Pole/Chase-It

If you have a dog that loves chasing things, you should check out a flirt pole. You can make these at home or buy a premade one (like this one), either way this is a great toy for burning energy. But there's a catch with this game - your dog must know basic cues (sit, down, drop, wait) for this to be a safe, fun game. Dogs get really excited about this game, but if you ask for a sit or a drop and wait for a moment of calm before continuing, it stops the game from getting too intense and your dog from getting too excited. Before you try it, take a look at this video from Bad Rap.


Teach your dog a new trick! There are tons of books out there full of cute dog trick ideas, so just pick one and start training :). Learning new things is a very good way to mentally work a dog and is a perfect thing to keep you busy during a rainy day.

While choosing what to do with your dogs, please keep in mind that all dogs are individuals and what works for some, will not work for others. All the dogs in my house prefer different things, which keeps life interesting for me!!

What are your favorite methods for keeping your dog busy during rainy weather?

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