November officially sucks. Here in the UK it is one of the wettest months of the year. If, like me, you have dogs who dislike the rain, you’ll know how hard it is to persuade your pooch to get his precious paws wet in a puddle. So what can you do if you don’t take your dog out in the rain? Here are some rainy day activities and indoor games for dogs. No wet paws in sight…
Hide And Seek (With People)
Have someone hide somewhere in the house, eg a wardrobe, and then encourage your dog to find the person. Many dogs know the names of the people in their family. Say ‘Where’s Daddy?’ for instance. Begin to look for the person and encourage the dog to look. When your dog finds the person, give lots of praise. Start again in a new hiding place!
Hide And Seek (With Treats)
This game provides mental stimulation and is fun for your dog. It can also be a is a calming game. It encourages your dog to sniff, so instead of sniffing every lamp post on its walk, on a rainy day s/he can sniff out some treats!
Hide a few treats around the room. Put some in obvious places and each time you play, gradually build up to more challenging hidey spots.
You might find your dog has to learn to sniff around for the treats – some get it right away and others need a little help. If you need to help your dog to begin, point to where you have hidden a treat, or lead it over towards it.
Get our free dog treat recipes here. If your dog isn’t food motivated, but loves toys, play the game with toys instead.
Loosely fill a box with items such as empty plastic bottles, toilet roll tubes, scrunched up fabric. It’s good if the items can have different textures and make different noises when moved around in the box.
Throw some treats into the box so that they are hidden amongst the items. Invite your dog to find the treats.
For some dogs, the noise of the items moving can be unnerving. This game is good for gently encouraging greater confidence in nervous dogs. If your pet is very nervous, remove certain items from the box so there are fewer things to sniff through. Allow your dog to gradually build up courage to explore the box and its contents. You can always put more items in again once your dog is comfortable with the game.
Licky mat and filled toys
Most houses these days have a toy that can be filled with treats, such as a kong. Licky mats are even easier to use than a stuffed kong and also make great games for dogs. You can spread them with so many different things: honey, vegetable puree, meat paste… My 2 dogs are occupied for ages with licky mats!
You’ll need some paper or plastic cups or bowls for this game. Hide a treat under each cup on the floor. Encourage your dog to find the treats. You might need to push the cups around a little to show your dog what to do. Some dogs might be nervous about tipping the cups over, and will need to be gently encouraged. This game will also help them with their confidence. If your dog is nervous, you could try lifting up a cup so the treat is visible, and encourage your dog to have the courage to get the treat.
The Scatter Feeding game for dogs is mentally stimulating but it also helps us to reward our dogs for calm behaviour. The Scatter Game is a fabulously simple game that you can play anywhere in the home.
Just scatter a few treats over the floor and make your dog wait until you indicate that s/he can get them.
This is a great game to play to distract your dog at moments when it would normally get over-excited, such as when visitors arrive, or the dog next door starts barking.
Fancy making some home-made dog treats for your pooch to play the games with? You can find healthy, easy recipes here.