Dogs need exercise, regardless of the weather. That said, there are certainly some days where going outside is just not on our agenda. It's rainy and windy out, going on a walk just doesn't sound very enjoyable. So what can you do with your dog that will still keep them busy and hopefully burn some energy? Here are a few ideas you may find helpful!
1) Under, over and through
Set up an item like a kitchen chair, a step stool, or some other sturdy object on legs. Next, teach your dog how to crawl under the object and stay there, crawl all the way through the object, walk around the object, and how to jump over it entirely. Clicker training is especially effective for this since your dog has to work out what you're asking of him, using your click-n-treats as a guide. Once he knows how to go over, under and through, you can ask him to do combinations before he earns his reward.
2) Hide and go seek
Hide and seek is a great way to exercise your dog's mind and body and recall skills. Have your dog do a sit- stay, show them what it is you're going to hide - a treat or toy. Hide the treat or have a family members take turns hiding throughout the house. Then say "seek!" or have a family member call the dog to them, and reward them generously when they arrive. When their treat is all finished, say "all done!" which is the cue for the next family member to call the dog.
3) Go on a Socialization Outing
If you are unable to take your dog for a walk, consider taking him for a ride and doing a "fun visit" at Petco, Home Depot or Petsmart. Practice duration place, sit-stay and down commands.
4) Teach them to help you clean up
This game is easy — just scatter the toys all over the house and have your dog find each one and put it away in a basket to earn a reward. Start out by first training your dog to know what "put it away" means. Work on teaching your dog to pick up a toy, carry it to a basket or box, and drop it in the box.
5) Nosework - Canine nosework is a great new sport that can be done in your house. All you need to start are some boxes and some great treats! For more information on canine nosework, visit www.funnosework.com.
6) Have a Doggie Play Date! - If your dog has a favorite playmate or friend, consider scheduling a rainy day play date. Before your dog's pal arrives, be sure to puppy proof and pick up all breakables and valuables. As you know, Boxer play can get quite rowdy!
7) Food Dispensing Toys - Food dispensing toys are invaluable boredom busters. Nina Ottosson has a fantastic (but pricey) line of durable puzzle toys which are dishwasher safe and feature a number of difficulty levels. A less expensive (and slightly less durable) alternative is the newly available Aikiou toy. Other options include: Kong wobbler, Kibble Nibble, Busy Buddy toys, Orbee Treat Spot toys, Tug-a-Jugs, and Buster Cubes.
8) Shaping Games - Shaping provides great mental exercise for a dog and a good shaping session can often tire a dog more than a walk that is two or three times as long. Practicing shaping in lots of short sessions will help tire your dog's brain out while relieving stress and boredom. Teaching your dog new behaviors is fantastic for their confidence and will make both of you happy! Learn more about shaping here:http://tinyurl.com/nxyo97q
9) Learning Games - British trainer Kay Laurence has a fantastic book available called "Learning Games." This book is chock full of ideas for how to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated while improving his behavior.
10) Obstacle course
If you're going to do something, go all-in, right? Setting up an obstacle course for your dog and helping teach them how to navigate the obstacles is a lot of fun. A lot of work, sure, but you're stuck inside on a rainy day so why not! Here are some suggestions for what to use:
A sturdy milk crate, stool or other item to balance on
A kitchen chair to jump up on or run underneath
A box with two open ends that he can crawl through
A basket alongside a pile of toys he has to place in it
A pole on two stools or boxes that he can leap over
A hula hoop to jump through
A frisbee or ball to catch
Create a few obstacles and guide your dog through each, building up to go faster each time through. Make sure to reward your dog with lots of praise, tug games or other high-value rewards each time they get through the obstacle course. You can make it as challenging as your dog needs. Tailor the game to your dog's physical ability and the types of tricks they enjoy, and be sure to offer lots and lots of praise for their attempts at the obstacles.
Content courtesy of: NWBR Volunteers, Mother Nature Network and Dogster.com