I always applaud the dog parents who lace up their sneakers and head outside for a walk despite the rain, snow, or undesirable temperatures. Good for them braving the elements. Me? I prefer to stay indoors and wait for the sun to reappear. If bad weather keeps you inside too then the following six activities will really come in handy. After all, our dogs need daily physical and mental stimulation!
1) The Classic KONG
I cannot tell you how much my dogs love the KONG. It’s a red rubber toy that has a place to hide treats. Truly, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can stuff your KONG with. I posted this photo on my Instagram asking other dog moms what they use. The replies ranged from loose treats to liver paste and peanut butter. You can also stuff your KONG with healthy veggies, like carrots!
What’s great about the KONG is it will keep your pooch busy for a while. My pups work to get the treats out for upwards of 20 minutes. They lick it, paw at it, flip it around. Peanut butter and treat paste keep them busy for the longest amount of time, so if you need to keep them occupied while you do some work then I definitely recommend using a paste rather than loose treats!
Another great thing about the classic KONG is that it’s super cheap!
2) Dog Puzzles
Dog puzzles are basically mind games for your pooch. They work similar to the KONG, where you hide treats in something and your dog has to figure out how to get them out. Nina Ottosson has designed some great dog puzzles. She has easy, medium, and advanced puzzles. So if one puzzle seems too easy for your pooch, you can bump up the challenge with a harder one. Check out this YouTube video for an example:
Here are some of Nina’s popular puzzles on Amazon:
3) Tug-A-Jar Game
This game is sort of like tug-of-war. But rather than your dog tugging on a rope with you or another dog on the other end, there is a jar full of treats on the other end. To get the treat out your dog has to push, pull, and twist the rope around. It can be a bit difficult, but it will keep your dog busy for a while! Check out this YouTube video of a dog named Hoshi to see the tug-a-jar in action:
This toy comes in three sizes: X-Small, Small, and Medium/Large.
4) DIY Games
If you don’t want to spend the money on a dog puzzle/game, you can always make one at home! Some popular DIY dog puzzle games include:
- Muffin Tin with Tennis Balls: Using a muffin tin, hide a few treats inside each tin cup. Then cover all of the cups with tennis balls and let your dog figure out which tennis balls are hiding a treat underneath!
- Water Bottle Puzzle: This puzzle is nothing more than a cut up water bottle stuffed with treats. Your dog has to paw at the bottle and spin it around to make the treats fall out. Click here to find out how you can make one for your pooch!
- Freeze Treats: Put your dog’s favorite treat in each compartment of an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water and freeze. Then let your dog lick his way to the center to get the treat out!
Okay, so I don’t actually own an iFetch yet … right now, my arm is the iFetch. With that said, this thing looks sooooo cool! Basically, you teach your dog to drop his tennis ball in the iFetch and it will automatically shoot the ball a few feet away. If you have the space in your house — and you think your dog would use it — then this is a great activity for rainy days.
The iFetch comes in different sizes — ones that throw small tennis balls and ones that throw larger tennis balls.
6) Work On New Tricks
A short 15-minute training session every day goes a long way. Think about it – every time you teach your dog a new trick, you are mentally challenging him/her. Dogs love a challenge and they love to learn new things. If you have a new puppy, start with the basic commands: sit, stay, down, come, etc. Once you have the basic commands down, move on to more advanced tricks: paw, roll over, etc. The amount of tricks you can teach your dogs is limitless. I mean, have you checked out the video of the dog who knows how to do laundry?