There’re only a few sounds that can provide so many mixed emotions for dog parents as rain on the windows when you first wake up. Some dogs love to play in the rain. My boy definitely does not. And to those pet parents whose fur children do like to play in the rain I say: “ha ha ha ha ha!”.
I woke up this morning to the peaceful sound of rain on my window. As per usual the minute I rolled over Jack’s head lifted up to see if I was awake. “Good morning, baby bear,”: my usual greeting to signify that I am in fact waking up so feel free to bother Mummy. With that his tail started going crazy, a smile burst on his face, and he jumped out of bed to greet the day. I got dressed and he followed me to the door to go down for his morning business.
The second the door opened my happy pooch evaporated. The ears went back and he gingerly followed me on to the patio. We descended the stairs and the second we hit the landing he stopped dead in his tracks and looked at me as if to say “Are you sure, Mum!?”. He went down to the yard to do his business and returned to the house as quickly as possible, happily let me dry him off, and promptly went back to bed to snuggle.
While I am happy that I don’t have to spend a lot of time in the rain with Jack, his dislike for the rain does pose a new problem. He will inevitably get bored, or want some exercise, or develop a bad case of cabin. You may find yourself in a similar situation, drinking your morning coffee, pondering what to do with your pooch today. Well here’s a few ideas for you that we’ve tried, some of them can even help with skills you’re already working on!
If your dog is at all reliant on his nose, scent games are an awesome rainy day activity. You can buy scent extracts to enhance the fun for your dog but if he is food motivated there really isn’t a need for that. When we first got Jack I had trained him the command “Find it”. We used it to signify that he may get his dinner. So I decided to use that in my game. Through our fun with the dognition games (Also a great option for your dog on rainy days) Jack started to think that red solo cups meant it was time to play. So I found a few of his favorite treats, showed them to him along with the solo cups, and had him sit in the kitchen while I hit a few throughout the house. Once I told him to “Find it” he went nuts searching room to room for the magical solo cups with the cookie centers!
A variation on the command “find it” can be “find me”. We use to use “find me” when Jack still needed improvements on his recall. On our hikes one of us would hide behind a tree while the other supervise. The hider would yell “find me!” and Jack would take off to track them down. Eventually once his recall improved we would both hide and play a family game of hide and seek. If you have a big enough house or a small enough dog, you can play this inside too!
If your dog likes to fetch you can try to make the game more exhausting by adding the stairs! Put your pooch in a sit/stay at the bottom of the stairs then throw their favourite toy to the top. You can make it more exciting by saying something like: “ready…. Set………………..GO!” and watch them scamper up the stairs as fast as they can. It is probably a good idea to let them come down at their own pace. It should also be kept in mind that this game shouldn’t be played until they are at least a year old and their joints are developed. And it shouldn’t be played by older dogs, or dogs who have had any joint issues at all.
This one is especially fun because it relies on your creativity! Agility training can be an awesome physical or mental workout for your dog, as well as a great bonding exercise! Don’t worry if you don’t have fancy equipment, you can set up an obstacle course using objects you find in your house. Use a hula hoop as a tire to jump through, plungers to weave around, or a broom handle propped up on books to jump over! How creative are you? We would love to see some pictures of what you set up!
Nothing beast good old fashioned training for mental stimulation. If you make training fun, it can be a great mental or physical activity for Fido on a rainy day. You can work on perfecting basic commands or basic manners, or even funny tricks to entertain your friends. If you’re not sure how to go about it there are literally thousands of tutorial videos on the internet. I like http://www.dog-training-excellence.com/ for it’s ease in reading, moderately adept explanations, and depth of information available. Another great very simplified option perfect for a rainy day is http://www.howcast.com/guides/1025-how-to-teach-your-dog-tricks/. There are lots of positive trainers and videos available! All you need is some tasty treats and a clicker, and you are good to go! But PLEASE, remember to take lots of fun breaks. Nothing is worse for Fido than ruining training by forcing it on him when he’s tired out.
Mental stimulation and physical activity are very important for your dog. It can be very tempting to snuggle up with a blanket and watch a movie when the weather is gross, but fido may not be so happy with that. Always remind yourself dogs are very intelligent sentient beings capable of thought, not just a snuggle buddy, and they don’t understand what’s happening in your tv show like you do. They can become very bored if they stay complacent for too long. This boredom can cause unhappiness and in a lot of cases behavioural issues. When planning your rainy day activities remember that you have the option of leaving to find fun, fido doesn’t. He depends on you to have fun! And in all honesty all of these rain day activities are great fun for humans as well, and an awesome way to bond with your fur baby!
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