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Things To Do With Your Dog When It Is Raining
We all know dogs need exercise. In some cases a dog can need lots of exercise. Getting your dog the right amount of exercise makes him or her happier, healthier, helps them control their behavior, and allows quality time for them to bond with you. If your dog is a larger breed or one that tends to be more energetic you could be looking at up to two hours of exercise needed per day! Although it is vitally important to allow your dog adequate exercise, it can be difficult to find that kind of time in your busy day. Somedays you feel fortunate for a 30 minute walk. But what do you do when the forces of nature seem to work against you? Rain can dampen even the highest spirit when it comes to wanting to go outside. Of course a dog doesn't understand that conditions are terrible, he or she just wants to get moving and spend time with you. The moping face and deep sighs can be so heart-wrenching! If you are like me and have faced this conundrum with your pet, I've got some tips to help you, and your dog, out during those rainy days.
Equip yourself to deal with the elements.
Obviously with the right gear you can still venture into the inclement weather and stay relatively dry. A waterproof jacket with a hood, waterproof pants, and a good pair of waterproof boots or shoes will do well to keep you dry and comfortable on a walk in the rain. If the rain isn't too bad a jacket may be all you need. Depending on the kind of dog you have you may or may not want to invest in rain protection for them. If they are a water dog, have a thick coat of fur, or otherwise enjoy playing in the water you will probably be ok simply walking them in the rain. If they have a thin coat of fur, get cold easily, or do not seem to enjoy water very much you may want to invest in a rain jacket for them.
Play indoor games.
Often times a little mental stimulation can be a good source of exercise for your dog as well. Use your time inside to do a review of all the tricks you have taught them or toss a soft ball in a safe place in the house. Tug of war and indoor soccer are a couple of my dog's favorites. Here are a few more ideas:
Hide and Seek.
If your dog knows how to 'stay' then you can turn your house or apartment into a big game of hide and seek. Turn the lights out, take your dog to one end of the house, and tell them to 'stay'. Quickly find a place to hide that is out of sight and yell, "come find me!". It may seem easy for them to find you, but they will enjoy the challenge of obeying commands and searching. Reward them with lots of praise and maybe a treat or two.
Learn a new trick or command.
So your dog knows sit, stay, down, leave it, and roll over. What about spin? Speak? Shake? Hide? Fetching a specific toy? Dogs love to learn new things and to please their owners. Look up cool new tricks and see if you can get them to do it. My wife recently taught our dog to pick up trash around the house during a rainy day. That is probably the most useful trick he has ever learned. She calls it "trash for treats".
Three bowls and a treat.
This is a game my dog could play for hours. I take three bowls and place them face down on the carpet. I place one of his favorite treats underneath one of the bowls and then rearrange them for a few seconds. He then gets to choose one of the bowls (he touches the one he thinks it is under). If he guesses right he gets the treat (if he is right a lot he has to settle for lots of praise).
The laser pointer.
This is one of those things that I was highly skeptical of until we got one and used it with our dog. He loves to chase the light around the house. He has a route that he has memorized and will chase the laser for hours if we let him. If he so much as hears the rattling of the keychain that the pointer is on he jumps up and wags his tail like mad.
Build an obstacle course.
Remember when you used to make forts as a kid? You can use those same building principles to erect an obstacle course in your house for your dog to navigate. Think about the agility courses you see on the television and get creative. Pillows, blankets, books and boxes can keep you both occupied for hours.
A play date or dog kenneling service.
Sometimes having a friend over that he can romp with is all my dog needs to wear himself out it a hurry. Our neighborhood has many dogs that are right about his size and temperament. All it takes is a little planning and coordination. Also, some kenneling services have indoor dog runs that you can utilize during the day for hours at a time. Think of it like an indoor dog park. There will be costs associated with this option, however.
Take them shopping.
There are very few stores that allow any animals outside of service animals. However, there are a few. My favorite is The Home Depot. First off it is very large and has lots of room to walk. Second of all it has lots of interesting things for me to look at as well. Third, and most important, it seems like all the employees enjoy dogs and stop to say hello, sometimes offering him treats as well. If you choose this option make sure your dog is well trained and won't go to the bathroom inside or be hostile towards other dogs or people. It won't take much to have this privilege taken away. I also enjoy taking my dog to pet stores such as Petco or Petsmart as they have lots of interesting smells for him.
Your dog needs exercise and your attention every day. You don't always need to dedicate hours and hours of time to getting your dog out, but they will be healthier and happier if they are able to burn off their extra energy on a regular basis. Somedays the weather will not cooperate with you and your dog's plans. Hopefully these tips help you find new and interesting ways to spend time with your dog getting the exercise he or she needs to be happy.