When you're a kid, snow days are as close as you can get to winning the lottery. And it's like winning the mega-lottery when there was a big test planned that day. But bad weather feels like less of a miracle when you're a dog owner. Suddenly, the day becomes a strategic challenge to make sure your furry best friend gets indoor exercise somehow. Luckily, we've got some ideas that can help get the exercise your dog needs, so when you see "100% precipitation" in the forecast you'll already have a game plan in place, even if you don't have aa dog treadmill.
Brave the storm
The first option is to play outside anyway. This is a pretty obvious choice but it's a good choice if you have an adventure-loving pup whose fur is designed to withstand the cold. Many dogs, particularly those in the herding, sporting, or working group, live to play in cold weather, whether it's a long walk or a visit to the dog park. They'll play fetch like it's a gorgeous summer day even when it's 2 degrees outside — although in that case you may prefer the indoor activities!
Some tips to help your pup stay comfortable for outdoor dog exercise:
- Keep your time in the inclement weather to 30-40 minutes at the most.
- If your dog has thinner fur and/or sensitive paws bundle them up in a doggie coat and boots.
- Make sure to wipe the salt off their paws or dog toys when they come inside.
READ MORE: Fun Games to Play With Herding Dogs
Play games with your pooch
If your dog is an indoor kid, you don't need to force him to go outside. But rainy days can get dogs down just like people. If morale seems low for your pup, play some games for mental stimulation. Play hide-and-seek to get him moving and stave off boredom. There are two ways to do this.
You can hide kibble in one of his puzzle toys or you can hide yourself. Begin by throwing a treat or his favorite toy. Once he runs after it, hide in a different part of the house. Making your dog look for you can tire him out while giving him mental exercise at the same time.
READ MORE: How to Make A Spinning Bottle Food Puzzle For Dogs
The nose knows
Add a little playtime to dinner time by making your dog find her bowl. Hide her meal in a box, or in a different part of the house. You can also use a Kong or other fillable chew toy. Put her favorite treats in there and let her chew the rainy day blues away.
Learn some new tricks
If you have the time, rainy/snowy days can be a great opportunity to teach your pup some new tricks. Begin with the basics if your dog hasn't learned them yet. It's best to start with skills like sit, down, and come. Once you've mastered those you can move on to more advance cues like stay, speak, roll over, or high five. The AKC has some great tutorials if you need a step by step guide. Teaching your pup tricks will strengthen your bond with your dog and you'll be a hit at parties.
Play a game of fetch
If you have enough room in your apartment or house there's no reason why you can't still play a game of fetch inside for your daily exercise. If your pup is a fetcher your physical exercise work is done. He'll be happy to play for hours on end until he's all. tuckered. out.
If your dog has more of a "no take, only throw" philosophy when it comes to playing ball, a fun way to get exercise might be tug-of-war. This game doesn't take up much space and it's great exercise. They sell tug toys, but in a pinch, you can roll up an old towel put a knot at each end, and voila! You have a rainy day solution.
Play dates aren't just for kids. They're great for dogs too! Find a pal who is also trying to tire out their dog, and kill two birds with one stone. Invite a pup or two over and let the dogs wrestle and chase themselves out. A note, make sure the dogs have met before and are friends before you try this.
Indoor agility course
Finally, if both you and your furry friend are feeling a little pent-up and need to get out of the house, consider going to an indoor agility course. Places like Zoom Room will let your dog play by the hour. You can set him free to run and play and go home with a happy, tired dog, despite the bad weather.
Or, make your own indoor agility course from some common household objects. An indoor obstacle course could run from an under-the-table tunnel in the kitchen to passing the baton in the living room to finding the treat stuffed with peanut butter in the bedroom.