As The Weather Changes, It's Still a Good Time to Teach Old Dogs (or New Dogs) New Tricks

Things to Do with Your Pup on Cold and Rainy Days

Our four-legged furry canines enrich our lives with their infinite trust, blind loyalty, and an unmitigated desire to please their owners. But even with all of the love they have to share, dogs likewise have stores of energy that they need to expand. Dogs chase through parks and happily trot with their owners on walks not just for the company, they have the energy to burn and need the exercise to keep them alert, vibrant, and healthy.

While you and your pup may have a great time together outdoors, nature often impedes on your best laid outdoor plans. Rain and freezing cold are natural temperatures for many parts of the world, but needless to say, that is not an environment conducive to any type of dog and owner enjoyment. The weather not being cooperative, however, is not going to make the dog’s energy reserves any lower. For that reason, you will want to be ready with some indoor activities to keep your dog occupied, physically fit, and mentally sharp.

Learn New Tricks

If done positively and constructively, dogs love training. When they succeed, reward them with treats. Your dog will be more than happy to pick up some new skills and in doing so continue to develop their intelligence, obedience, and will build on your relationship with the dog and its affection for its attentive owner.

Indoor Fetch (Hall Ball)

Everyone is aware of fetch being one of a pup’s favorite outdoor activities. But when the weather is not cooperating, take the game indoors. You will have to switch up what you throw and choose your location wisely. An excited pup going at full speed indoors can result in some unwanted damages or injuries to the dog. But throwing plush toys in a wide, mostly empty area is sure to be an indoor favorite. If a wider space is not available, a hall will do. Instead of tossing or throwing something, roll the ball along the floor to the opposite end of the hall, and your pup will happily chase it down.

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Hide & Seek/Find A Treat

You can play hide & seek either in the form of strategically hiding treats around your residence or by actively hiding and having your dog try to find you. In the case of the former, it will help your dog practice using his/her nose and enhance their detection ability. When you start, have your dog sit while you plant treats around them, so that they can see where they are all hiding. Prompt the dog to find the treats and remember to offer praise when the search succeeds. Once you are sure the puppy gets a hang of the game, start hiding the treats in slightly more challenging spots.

If you are playing the traditional hide and seek game, have your dog sit while you go and hide, then call out to them and see how long it takes them to find you. Repeat as many times as you wish. Your dog will have a great time and experience the thrill of finding you all over again.

Tug of War

Tug of war is one of the best indoor activities to engage your pet in as it is both physically demanding, promoting exercise, and mentally challenging. If there is no tug toy in your possession, you can use an old towel, leash, or shirt (as long as it isn’t one that will tear easily). A dog can get overly excited and competitive at tug-of-war, so it's a good opportunity to teach a dog (especially a younger one) that if the teeth touch your hand, the game is over. This will not only be a fun activity, but it will teach the dog impulse control.

New Chew Toys

Believe it or not, a dog is in his/her happiest place when it has something known to gnaw on. In anticipation of rainy or cold weather, stock up on a few new chew toys (or regular dog toys) and bring one out when you need the dog to be occupied. It will take your pup a while to get bored with a new and exciting chew toy, and he/she might take it off to their designated play space and play with the new gift, potentially for hours at a time. Of course, a dog might eventually tire of the toy, but it will be something they come back to over and over in the future.

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Don’t let poor weather get you down. Your pup wants to spend time with you, and while he prefers the outdoors and the wide-open spaces, time with their master is paramount. The activities listed above, and many others can be enjoyed by both owner and pet, as long as they are enjoyed together.