5 Rainy Day Activities for Dogs

Dogs need exercise—even when it’s pouring rain.

The good news: You can get your dog all the mental and physical stimulation she needs indoors. Bored dogs create their own entertainment, and as anyone who’s come home to a shredded couch knows, that entertainment often isn’t what we want. Here are five indoor activities you can do to exercise your pup and curb her boredom, no matter what the weather.

Indoor Agility

Build an indoor agility course. All you have to do is get creative with obstacles using what you have around the house. A blanket tossed over your sofa and coffee table creates a tunnel between the two. A broom handle balanced between the rungs of two chairs creates a jump. Barstools serve as weave poles, and a yoga mat can substitute as a pause box. Teaching your dog the course is mental exercise, then running the course itself burns off that physical energy.

Chase the Treat

A simple and effective game, Chase the Treat can be customized to your dog. Gather up a pile of tiny treats, then toss them while your dog chases them down. Start by tossing the treats across the room while your dog watches. Once she understands the game, mix it up. For extra physical activity, sit at the top of a flight of stairs. Toss the treat down. Your dog should run down the steps to collect the treat, then run right back up to you. Repeat. Or, add in an obedience component to increase the mental exercise. Each time your dog runs back to you, ask for a sit and stay, toss the treat, then release your dog to chase it down.

Trick Training

Learning new things expends a ton of energy. You can find YouTube tutorials for just about any trick in the book, but start with something simple—like shake—if your dog isn’t used to learning new tricks. Add in a physical component to burn off extra steam by teaching high-impact tricks like jump or leap.

Puzzles

When you’re stuck inside, switch up meal times from plunking your dog’s bowl down to putting her food in a puzzle toy. If you don’t have any on hand, create your own! Spoon her food into the individual cups of a muffin pan or, for tiny dogs, ice cube trays. She’ll use up a lot of mental energy trying to work for her food.

The Box Game

Grab a pile of tiny training treats, a clicker (or use a praise word like “yes”), and a box. The point of this game isn’t to teach or train a specific behavior. Rather, you want your dog to innovate. Set the box in front of your dog and wait. Most dogs will curiously nudge the box. Click and treat! Any engagement with the box earns a reward. If your dog hesitates, rattle the box or toss a treat in to kick things off. As you progress, you can choose to work toward a specific behavior, or just let your dog mess around, rewarding her for being creative.

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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