Ever-inspired by Mother Nature, we wanted to dedicate this week’s blog to rainy day activities for your dog. While we can always appreciate a good downpour, rain undoubtedly makes dog walking in Encinitas a little trickier. So, if you find yourself cooped up this weekend—Buddy howling at your feet—fret not. Here are five ways to keep him entertained while avoiding the elements.
1. Teach the old dog new tricks
Maybe she’s grown a tad stubborn when given commands. Reinforce those good behaviors she once displayed by breaking out the treats! Practice “sit,” “stay,” or “lay down” while consistently rewarding her obedience. Try a new trick like “high-five” or “speak!” Your method of instruction will, of course, depend on the trick but many can be mastered within an afternoon. Positive reinforcement and repetition is the key.
You can also use treats for more than just tricks. Perhaps your dog gets really skittish when the harness comes out. Now would be a great time to desensitize fears by rewarding your dog in the presence of their “triggers.” Simply take the harness out and give a treat. Set it down. Repeat several times and in various locations to lessen anxiety over time. Soon your dog will come to associate the harness with yummy rewards rather than, say, a trip to the vet.
2. Kick it old school with a game of fetch
Has it been a while since you got down on the floor with your dog? It’s easy to take our pups for granted as pet owners, so use the rain as an opportunity to play with your dog like you did when they were a puppy. Wrestle with them. Chase them around the couch. Play tug of war with their long-forgotten rope toy. If you have a large enough room, play fetch. You can even invest in the iFetch and teach them how to use it themselves. Just move the expensive vases and picture frames first.
3. Hang out at a pet-friendly establishment
Coffee shop, restaurant patio—even the local pet store will do! Even if you’re just hanging out with your dog while reading the paper, they’re always happier in your company. Grab a couple of towels for the backseat, scope out a new dog-friendly eatery on Yelp, and bring your pooch along for the ride. Pro tip: Several fast food restaurants have a secret dog menu. Starbucks? Ask for a puppuccino. In-N-Out? Puppy patty.
4. Treat your dog to a pamper session
Grooming your dog is not only great for his coat, it’s an easy way to assess overall health. Catching a new lump, for example, could be lifesaving. Here are a few ideas for your next indoor spa day:
- Bathing: Be sure to use all-natural dog shampoo (or none at all!) Try an oatmeal bath as suggested in our recent blog: 10 Natural Remedies for Itchy Dogs.
- Brushing: A relaxing activity that will leave your pup’s fur shiny, soft, and free of dander.
- Nail trimming: Proceed with caution and be careful not to cut too far down near the quick. Ouch!
- Massaging: Need a How-To? I Heart Dogs has you covered.
5. Exercise with doga or stair climbing
Is your dog not a fan of the rain? Some aren’t; but don’t let that stop you from ensuring they get their daily dose of cardio. Dog yoga or “doga” might sound like it comes straight out of your crazy Burning-Man-loving Aunt’s backyard, but we assure you—it’s a thing.
Try sprint intervals down the hallway with your dog. Race them up and down the stairs (3 sets of 10 repetitions ought to get them panting). If you have a small dog who doesn’t mind being held, get silly with some squats—Princess can be your Kettlebell.
When the weather gets nasty, engaging your pooch in a little indoor play can be a welcomed change of pace. Of course, rain won’t kill you either; take a page out of your dog’s book and get your paws dirty. Jump in a puddle. Shake it off. Seize that rainy day!
What are some of your favorite rainy day activities for your dog? Bark about them in the comments below.