The recent raining weather in Boston has caused flooding, wet basements and dogs that are bouncing off the walls from boredom. Even if you are fortunate enough to have a dog who doesn’t mind going out in the rain, chances are that you aren’t as fond of getting wet and have not been giving your dog as much exercise as usual. You may have to be creative but try to do something to help your dog expend his/her energy while you are inside. Here are a few ideas to help you and your dog get through an extended period of bad weather.
A quick and easy game that you can play with your dog inside is Find It. Start by showing your dog a piece of food (chicken and cheese work really well) and toss it a few feet away and say “Find it.” Repeat this a few times. Then throw the food to a place where the dog can’t see it. Again tell the dog to find it. When the dog seems to have the hang of it, try hiding a few pieces. You may have to shut your dog in a room, put him/her in a crate or if you have a solid “stay” have them stay in one room while you hide the food in another. Your dog will get the mental stimulation as well as exercise as he/she runs around in search of food. Just remember where you hid the food in case your dog doesn’t find it all.
Hide and Seek
Training a reliable stay is one of the best things you can teach your dog. It also allows you to play Hide and Seek with your dog. Start by having the dog sit or lie down. If you are using a clicker, press the clicker and give them a treat. Repeat this but take a step away before clicking and returning to the dog to give a treat. When you are sure your dog will stay, start adding the word “Stay” before you take a step away. Once you feel you have a reliable stay, take a few steps away and say “Find Me.” Gradually build on this until you are out of sight of the dog.
A really important tip is to not to give your dog treats when he/she comes to you. Then you are reinforcing the dog breaking the stay. The dog’s reward is being able to come find you.
Some dogs and cats will follow a spot of light from a laser for hours. Get your pet to chase the laser beam around the house. It is not only exercise for the dog but also very entertaining for you with minimal effort.
You are probably feeling as cooped up as your dog so take a trip to Petco, PetSmart or another place that welcomes dogs.
Many people use Kongs and other treat puzzles to keep their dogs occupied while they are out of the house. Consider having these toys available while you are home if you and the dog will not be able to spend much time outside.