Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Rainy day activities for dogs!

Hello everyone!
The beginning of this year (and late last year) have been very wet in my area (rain, not snow). This has led to days when it has been impossible to go outside for any length of time, which has led to a very unhappy Owen.
These are some of the things I do to keep Owen entertained on these wet days (though these would also totally work for cold/snowy days!).
1. KONG (or similar) toy or food puzzle toy. This one is obvious for many but fill one of these toys with dog food, dog treats, or other yummy food (Owen likes fruits and peanut butter the most in his KONG but also likes dog treats, canned dog food, etc. and in the puzzles, dry things work best). Tip: freeze a KONG before giving to your dog to make it last longer.


2. Give a chew toy. My personal favorite type of dog chew is the Himalayan chews. They are fairly long-lasting, safe, and most dogs love them. They will keep a dog busy for quite a long time and will keep them distracted from the fact that they can't go outside to play.

3. Play tug-of-war or fetch with toys. These are also obvious games to play, but can get a lot of energy out, which will lead to a calmer and happier dog on those nasty days.
4. Do a training session. Nothing like a rainy/cold/snowy day to learn a new trick or skill! This can be a great time to teach something fun like "shake"/"give paw", "roll over", "speak", "high five", "spin", etc. but you can also work on basic obedience skills too ("sit", "down", "stay"/"wait", "leave it", "come", etc.).
5. My ALL time favorite game to play with a dog on a rainy day (or ANY day really) is hide and seek! I know! It sounds crazy to play hide and seek with a dog but it is TOTALLY possible and can be a blast for both dog and person!
To teach this game, your dog MUST know how to reliably stay/wait on command while you are out of sight (if you are not there yet with your dog, work on that first by having a training session or two). Start easy by having your dog stay/wait in a sit or a down position. Then go "hide." Make it easy at first, just going out of the room or behind something in the room the dog is in. Call your dog (only once!) or use their "release" (Owen's is "Okay!") word (again, only once). Make sure you have treats and when your dog "finds" you (again, hide in an easy spot at first), praise and give treats to encourage the behavior. Once your dog is good at this, you can make it harder by going farther away and hiding behind/on top of/under things. Remember to always praise your dog verbally and with treats and have fun with this game! It is really fun to have your dog seek you out and it helps build a stronger bond with your dog!

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