Rain, snow, and cold weather can be the worst nightmare for families with high-energy dogs. Without a walk, game of fetch, or trip to the park, all that pent-up energy can bubble over in frustrating ways. But when the weather gets bad, exercising outside isn’t always an option.
Our solution to the rainy day blues is to entertain your dog with fun indoor activities. Some of our suggestions exercise your dog physically, while others stimulate them mentally. They’re all safe to play inside (with proper precautions), and you don’t need fancy equipment or a lot of time to make them happen. The next time the weather keeps you inside, try out these fun indoor activities for your dog.
Find The Treats
A fun nose work game, such as find the treats, is a great way to keep your dog active indoors. The purpose of the game is to have your dog sniff out treats you hide around the house. Find the treats is simple to play; the only thing you need to get started is your dog’s attention and their favorite treats.
When you’re first starting out you’ll want to make it easy, until your dog gets the hang of it. Put your dog in a separate room, then hide some treats around the main room you are playing in. After they’re spread around, release your dog and give them a cue to “find the treats.” Keep it fun and positive by praising them each time they pick up a new treat.
Once you’re pretty sure your dog has a good grasp of what “find the treats” means you can start hiding them in more challenging spots. The best part about this game is how simple it is. You can play it anywhere as long as you’ve got some treats on hand. And although it seems basic, it will give your dog a nice mental workout and keep them active.
Play Tug of War
Every dog loves a good game of tug of war, and as far as indoor games goes it’s pretty physically demanding. Tug is one of the most physically & mentally challenging games you can play with your dog. And the best part is you don’t need a ton of room to play, so it’s a great way to exercise your dog on rainy days.
The only thing you need is a tug toy and your dog’s attention. If you don’t have a tug toy you can make your own out of some old t-shirts, towels or fleece. Playing tug with your dog is a great way to teach them some basic impulse control and manners. And contrary to what some people say, playing tug of war will not make your dog aggressive. Instead, letting your dog win just makes the game more fun, and it will encourage them to play more and boost their confidence.
Another simple way to keep your dog busy on rainy days is by using puzzle toys. They’re mentally stimulating, and they’re an easy way to keep your dog entertained for longer periods of time. There’s a wide variety of dog puzzle toys available on the market, as well as treat dispensing toys. And for the crafty types there’s a lot of great DIY toys out there you can make.
You’ll have to use your best dog parent judgment to determine if this indoor activity is suitable for your dog. If your pup has difficulty with stairs, it might not be a good idea to have them running up and down chasing a ball. It’s also best to only play this game on carpeted stairs.
But if your dog has healthy joints, is confident on stairs, and loves a good game of fetch, you can use this game to exercise them inside. Toss a ball or toy to the top of the stairs for them to retrieve, and after a few throws, your pup should be pretty worn out!
Learn a New Trick
Learning new skills has the dual advantage of keeping your dog occupied indoors while also strengthening your relationship. If your pup is still working on basic obedience, spend a rainy day reinforcing these skills. If your dog is already a well-trained pro, bad weather is the perfect opportunity to learn something new. Does your dog know how to give high fives or spin in a circle? Can they recognize their toys by name or put them away where they belong? If not, now’s the time to learn!
Your Pets are our Priority!
At the National Animal Supplement Council, our number one priority is to promote the health and wellbeing of your pets. That is why we created the NASC Audit Program and the Quality Seal, which helps you identify animal health and nutritional supplements that come from responsible suppliers committed to producing the highest quality, most consistent products available. Visit our website to learn more and to see a list of NASC members that have earned the Quality Seal.