By Langley Cornwell
A few years ago, there was a serious tropical storm that resulted in it pouring rain in Charleston for over a week. As luck would have it, this happened the very month we rescued our puppy. To make matters worse, I was under a tight deadline to finish up an important project that week. As you might imagine, our dog was going bonkers. I needed to entertain her to the point of exhaustion so I could get some work done, and we couldn’t go outside.
At that time our dog was young, but dogs of every age need exercise and mental stimulation regardless of the weather. In fact, this past summer it was so hot and humid that we didn’t think it was healthy to let our dog romp around outside for too long. We needed to help her burn off energy in the confines of our air-conditioned home.
My point is, there are days when you can’t offer your dog the necessary exercise and mental stimulation she needs in the great outdoors. Here are a few creative ways to entertain your dog when you can’t run around outside:
Find a friend with a dog and a basement. Seriously, my neighbor has a small dog and a large basement. When the weather isn’t conducive to outside play, she always wants me to come over with our dog so they can play together. We let the dogs wrestle and chase one another around until they wear themselves out. It’s great for them and fun for us too; we just hang out and chat. When I load our pup back in the car and get home, she takes her rightful place on the sofa for a long nap. On the flip side, if you have the space you can have the “play date” at your house. I can assure you that your friends will be grateful!
Stuff your dog’s toys. We have a few treat dispensing toys that help relieve boredom. I’ll stuff a rubber toy tightly with CANIDAE TidNips and let our dog entertain herself for hours. I’ve gotten good at packing the dog treats in so they’re hard to get out and it drives her crazy, in a good way. There are lots of puzzle toys and treat dispensing toys that can keep your dog occupied while indoors.
Make a game out of mealtime. Hide your dog’s kibble in small piles around the house and encourage her to search for it. This way, instead of just filling her food bowl and letting her gulp it down, you draw out the process and make it interesting for your dog. Depending on how energetic your dog is, you may have to crate her or ask someone to gently restrain her while you are hiding the food. With any of the treat or kibble games, remember to adjust your dog’s regular meals to accommodate the extra intake.
Take your pup on a dog friendly outing. Most pet shops and big box home improvement stores allow dogs inside. Even if you don’t really need anything, getting out, stretching your legs and looking at something other than your own four walls is good for both of you. In fact, even the car ride over there may be an improvement over your current predicament.
Devise indoor games. For instance, I’ll get on one end of the longest hallway in our house and throw an old sock full of rags to the other end. Our dog will scamper down the hall, retrieve the sock-toy and bring it back, shaking her head and prancing the whole way. When we get tired of that, I’ll grab the sock and play a gentle game of tug-of-war.
When my husband is home we play hide and seek with our dog. He’ll load his pockets with CANIDAE Snap-Bits, hide somewhere in the house, call the dog and reward her when she finds him. I’ve also turned three bowls upside down, hidden a treat under one of the bowls, mixed them up and rewarded her when she “noses” the bowl with the treat (which is almost every time).
Bad weather days are also an ideal time to brush up on basic training skills or teach new ones. When you put your mind to it, the possibilities are endless!
Photo by TheGiantVermin
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell
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