I know the rain is good for the flowers, but I’m getting a little tired of it. And not only is it raining, but it’s cold, too. Not conducive to playtime outside for the dogs. And if they don’t get their playtime outside, well they make up for it inside. In a pre-emptive strike, I’m trying to get them tired out indoors before they get any ideas of their own. (Generally speaking, my ideas are better than theirs – their idea of fun usually results in something broken due to their exuberance.)
So what’s a house-bound owner to do with rambunctious dogs while the rain makes it’s way through town? Lots of things, really. Here are a few ideas you can use for the next rainy day…
1. Play Time: This is easy and fun – the dogs and I both like this one. You can play whatever games your dog likes – tug, chase me, catch me, retrieve, etc. In my house, my dogs really get a charge out of me chasing them. The hallway closet creates an island in the middle of our house and the dogs love it when I give chase, round and round we go. All the dogs (except Old Man Lucky) join in and it’s almost like a conga line. Occasionally the leader (usually Tango) will throw us a curve ball and run back to the bedroom or out to the family room. He keeps us on our toes.
2. Another fun way to tire out your dogs is to engage in a little bit of training. Grab your clicker and your treats and teach a new trick. Or challenge yourself (and your skills) and try to capture something novel – like a head turn to the right or to the left. I was bored one day and captured Tango glancing over his left shoulder. I captured it with the clicker and in no time, I put it on cue and had a cute new trick. I lack creativity and just named it "glance," but you could think of some cool cues like: "someone’s coming," "who’s sneaking?" or something creative and funny.
3. Fun, homemade toys: I like to put a few pieces of kibble inside an empty 1- or 2-liter bottle (leave the lid off). Let the dogs have fun by chasing the bottle all over the house and trying to figure out how to get the goodies out. Some dogs get it right away and learn to tip it up, while others gnaw and chew on the opening for awhile. This one needs supervision, though, to make sure your dog doesn’t chew off and swallow a piece of plastic.
4. Rocket Recalls: If your dog is fit and healthy – and likes to retrieve – toss a ball either up or down the stairs and click and treat each time your dog brings the ball back. This is an easy way to exercise your dog without moving anywhere!
Enjoy the rain – and the time you spend inside with your dogs. We’ll be rewarded with greener grass – and better behaved dogs!