We’ve all been there: your alarm clock wakes you up (digital or four-legged), you get out of bed and get bundled up to take your dog outside only to open the door to rain. I dont know about you, but my dog always looks at me like I’m the one who turned on the storm!
What to do? Physical stimulation is important in dogs despite them needing an average of 17 hours sleep a day. But just as important is mental stimulation! Exercise can tire your dog out for a day, but cumulatively it can turn your pup into an adrenaline junkie and make them even harder to tire out tomorrow. We can avoid turning your dog into a gym rat by adding mental stimulation to their enrichment repertoire.
Try these games to mentally stimulate your dog!
Place some treats (preferably healthy like green beans or chopped carrots) around the room while letting your dog watch you. Tell them to “Find it!” and help them find the treats if you need to (some dogs need only help with round 1 and then take the reins). When they are all found and eaten, throw your hands up and say “All gone.” They catch on fast, and after they have learned the signals, hide treats when they aren’t in the room. Call them into the room and give them the signal “Find it!” to send them on the search, and signal the end of the game by empty hand gestures and the words “That’s all.” Finish with some belly rubs for a job well done!
HIDE AND SEEK
To play Hide and Seek, it helps if your dog has a solid “Stay.” If not, you’ll need a helper who will hold your pet while you go into another room and hide. They can be released when you call them, and when they find you, have a big puppy party so that they understand that you are playing a game. This also helps work on the command “stay.” Aside from the fact that understanding this command allows the two of you to play hide and seek without help, it is one of the most useful commands your pup can learn!
This is a great game for when I’m feeling under the weather but my dog is giving me sad eyes. Use a children’s safe bubble solution and bubble maker and blow bubbles for your dog to chase. Most dogs are just as fascinated by bubbles as young children are! *NOTE* A bubble solution that is safe for children is also safe for dogs)
BACK TO SCHOOL
In addition to these rainy day games, it is also very enriching for your dog to review some homework. This means going through the cues they already know (Sit, down, paw) and mixing up the order in which you give them. I love to have my pup do doggie push ups, which is as simple as repeating the commands for “Down” and “Sit” on repeat. Knowing how to “sit” from a “down” is one of the trickier behaviors for novice dogs, so this can be very helpful with discriminating those cues.
Follow along for more games and tips for rain or shine, and tell your dog I said hi!
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