Keep Your Pup Pacified with Rainy Day Activities
January’s deluge left me scrambling to come up with indoor activities to keep my puppy entertained, exercised, and not rendering my shoes, curtains and pillows into a chew toy. Outside of the Kong, store bought solutions didn’t hold Charlie’s attention long enough to be worth the cost. Although I’m hoping the inclement weather will limit itself to overnight hours, having a plan for inside play is a must for the inevitable rainy day.
Take a cupcake tin (I started with one that holds 6 cupcakes) and put treats in each of the spots. Cover the treats with tennis balls, then let your dog figure out how to find them. When your dog repeatedly finds the treats easily, graduate to a larger cupcake tin and don’t put treats into all of the spots (but still cover all of them with tennis balls) to add an extra dimension to the game. Add a dab of peanut butter to one of the spots for enjoyment by both you and your pup as they try to lap every last trace.
For a bigger challenge, find a box and wrap some treats in paper, then let your dog figure out how to unwrap them. You can also do this at meal time with kibble instead of treats. It’s a great method of slowing down dogs who eat too fast, which can result in digestive upset.
For breeds that crave physical activity, clear out any dangerous obstacles and breakables then roll a ball down the hallway. I used one that lights up, but any ball will do. It’s a great opportunity to work on your dog’s fetching skills. If you have slippery wood or laminate floors, a “crash pad” at the end of the runway is always a good idea.
Even older dogs can use a refresher course in their training. Start with a handful of treats and five minutes practicing sit, down, stay, shake, roll over or whatever else your dog knows how to do. You can find all sorts of videos online on how to teach your dog other tricks, like turning off light switches and putting their toys away.
Create a Homemade Agility Course
Use your imagination and suddenly you’re transforming a tall rectangular box into a tunnel, arranging books as weave sticks and propping up a broom on flower pots or chairs—depending on the size of your dog—to create jumps. You may need to watch a couple of videos on how to get your dog to participate, but if you run the course a couple of times yourself, your dog will hopefully take your lead and follow along. Don’t forget to post a video!
My dog loves to ride in the car, and for some reason, having to wait while I’m in and out of stores wears her out. Or course you don’t want to do this when it’s hot outside. Smaller breeds and those sensitive to cold should wear a sweater when the mercury dips. If your dog frequently rides in your car, a car harness or similar restraint is always advised.
Treat Your Dog to a Spa Day
Find a local groomer or do-it-yourself. A thorough brushing, nail trim, bath, and a blow-dry will not only make your dog feel pampered, but it will also eliminate the dreaded wet dog smell and keep him or her occupied and out of trouble for a while.
Save a Life – Adopt Here:
Contra Costa Animal Services
4800 Imhoff Place, Martinez, CA 94553
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Sundays: Volunteer Adoption Event, 12-3pm