There are times when the weather can be rather unpleasant to walk in or when you need to keep your dog entertained inside. Coming up with new ideas to get your dog to use their brains can be hard, so we have a few ideas for you. Here are our top 10 rainy day games:-
- Treat Trail: Very simple but most dogs love it! The aim of the game is for your dog to find the treats that are hidden around your house. You can determine the degree of difficulty depending where you hide them. Start off easy and when your dog understands the game make it harder and really get your dog using their nose.
- Interactive feeder: These are a great way to get your dog thinking to overcome a problem. You can get interactive feeders or dog treat puzzles for all different levels of difficulty. Top tip: make sure that you supervise your dog during these games. If they are getting frustrated, help them with shaping the behaviour that is needed to get the reward or showing them where the treat is and then watch them solve the problem.
- Trick time: Rainy days are great for those day to catch up on the things you have set aside for another day; time to get training! You can go over the tricks that your dog already knows or you can teach your dog some new ones. This is great for dogs of all ages and abilities, and your home is a safe learning centre with no (or little) distractions. Make sure you have lots of yummy training treats, the new trick in mind (or old one) and a plan to shape that new trick. Everyone loves a new party trick!
- Indoor fetch: How many times do you play fetch with your dog inside your house whether it’s a rainy day or just a random play time? I bet a lot of you! Your simple game of fetch can be turned into a little training section, without your dog even knowing. Locate your dog’s favourite toy, get your dog to ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ through the toy and on command get your dog to fetch it and bring it back to you. You can make this more difficult by making the duration of ‘staying’ before ‘fetching’ longer but make sure that you do this gradually.
- Kong: Kongs are great for all sizes, breeds and ages; whether your dog has a strong jaw, is a puppy or a chewer. All you need to do is fill the Kong up with safe, tasty treats and your dog will be amused for ages as they figure out how to get those treats out of that small opening. Just make sure that you supervise your dog whilst it plays with the kong and take it away after all the treats have gone. Top tip: during the summer on those hot days, you can freeze the Kong with tasty treats inside to help cool your dog.
- Hide and go seek: If your dog knows a ‘find it’ command (or something similar) then this could be the indoor game for you! To play hide a favourite toy (or even a person) out of the dog’s sight. Once the item is hidden, bring your dog back in and give your ‘find it’ command. Make sure you give him vocal clues if help is needed; such as ‘goooood’ when they are close or ‘ohhhhhhhh’ when they are further away. You can give hints by pointing or walking towards the item. When your dog does find the item, make a BIG deal of how brilliant your dog is. Eventually your dog will become amazing at this game and get faster and faster about looking and finding the hidden item.
- Up, over and through: Learning new tricks is great fun, so why not train your dog to go under, over and through objects. Get a chair, stool or another obstable on legs which is sturdy. Then teach your dog how to crawl under the object and stay there, crawl all the way through the object, walk around the object and jump over it. One way to do this is to use clicker training; using the ‘click-treat’ as a guide. Once your dog has done what you asked, you can ask them to do combinations of obstacles before the reward is given. When you and your dog have the basics, your imagination can go wild! Top tip: Make sure your pockets are full of tasty treats and you always praise your dog.
The list could be endless! Create the obstacle course and guide your dog through each of them. Gradually build up the speed through the course. Top tip: make sure you have lots of treats on you and give your dog lots of praise. Make it super fun rather than working; you can also increase the degree of difficulty if your dog need the extra challenge.