Activities For Dogs Indoors

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Introduction

Are you and your dog stuck inside as the rain thunders down upon the roof? Dogs that are housebound because of inclement weather need to be active both physically and mentally. While it can be a bit trickier to arrange activities within the boundaries of the home, it can be done. With a little foresight and a bit of planning, you can arrange some fun activities that will challenge your dog's ability to think and solve new tasks, and exercise their body to use up that pent up energy that most dogs get when confined to indoors. A lot depends on the size of your home and the layout, but nothing is impossible. Hallways in the home are a great racing or retrieval track, or combine a set of stairs and a hall way to make a pooch-perfect set up as an obstacle course for your dog. Who knows, rainy days may become a welcome change for you and your dog with the addition of some indoor activities.

Obstacle Course

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Rainy Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 Minutes
Items needed
Small ladders
Chairs
Boxes or crates
Ropes
Activity description
The home obstacle course is a fun way to get your dog active when they are confined to the home. It is easy to set up and you can use a lot of things you have around the home to make the course. Firm boxes can be cut open for the dog to burrow through, or used as a series of steps to go up and down on. Of course, the size of the dog will determine the type of equipment you will need. For a heavier dog it would be better using a solid plastic container rather than a box that might crumble, frightening the dog. Ensure that the things you set up are solid enough for the dog to walk on or step up on. If you do the course with your dog, you will not have to worry about going to the gym yourself - you and your dog can get fit together as you race to see who gets it done first. Winding lines for your dog to follow are fun, and can be set up with a length of rope. This activity can be as short or as long as you want it to be. You just repeat the course until one of you tires of it - bet it won't be your dog!
Step
1
Set up the obstacle course
First clear an area within the home for the obstacle course. You can incorporate some of the furniture if you need to; for example your dog might jump up, then down on a dining seat, and then move onto the next one, and then maybe crawl under the dinning room table, do a roll over then stand and race across some box jumps arranged in the hallway.
Step
2
Teach your dog
You could teach your dog to follow a winding line of rope on the floor or use the ladder spaces for steps - one paw in each space. It doesn't have to be a race, they can take their time and get to know how to successfully handle the course. A little treat after a successful run will bolster your pooch's motivation.
Step
3
Get creative and have fun!
Train your dog to burrow under a large box with a tunnel shape cut out each side, or they could tunnel under one of the beds and pop out the other side. If you have a children's indoor tent then that would be ideal for creating a 'den' that your dog can enter - wait inside as you count of ten - then re-emerge victorious for a treat. Rewarding effort and patience will make the game more fun for your dog... just don't over do the treats or your dog will have to keep working to burn it all off! It depends on your creativity, but you will be surprised what you can use and how much fun it is not only for the dog, but for you too!
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Tug of War

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Any Day
Free
Easy
5 - 20 Minutes
Items needed
A long plaited rope toy
Chalk or a piece of bright tape
Activity description

All dogs love a game of tug of war; it's a way of interacting with them on a whole new level. This game is easy to set up and can be done anywhere in the house, as long as there is a bit of room with no breakable items. If you don't have a piece of rope or a purchased tug toy, you can get creative and make your own as long as it is sturdy. Dogs can get bored inside on a rainy day as they can't get outside and let off steam. Unless you provide a bit of indoor activity, you are going to have one mischievous dog on your hands. There is an old saying that goes something like this: 'Idle hands are the devil's tools'. Well, that goes for idle paws as well! They will be into everything, from destroying your children's toys to pulling out the fringe on your new designer rug. Avoid 'pawssible’ disaster and challenge your dog to a game of tug of war.

Step
1
Get prepared
First you need something to tug and if you haven't anything on hand, we are here to help. All you need is two or three old t-shirts to be cut up into long lengths of fabric. Then, simply plait the fabric into a long rope. With a knot at each end to hang onto, and a few long tassel bits as decoration, you are in business. Make sure the toy is securely made however, so that it does not tear easily. If it shows signs of weakness, then it is time to discard it.
Step
2
Time to tug
There are no rules! You give your dog one end while you keep hold of the other. Believe me, your dog will instinctively pull on the rope, you pull back and it's game on! Those little pooches can pack a good pull, but of course, they have four legs to help against your two! This game is such fun for both parties.
Step
3
Add variety
To make it more interesting, use chalk or a piece of tape on the floor. The aim of this visible line is to pull your opponent over it to win! Let your dog win a few times to get the idea. When they pull you over the line, stop and reward them with a hug and a small treat. They will soon get the idea and be raring to go.
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Teach Your Dog a New Trick

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Any Day
Free
Normal
30 - 60 Minutes
Items needed
Props for the trick
Healthy reward treats
A timer device
Activity description
This activity is ideal for indoors as you don't need a lot of space and it is free to do. While the rain is coming down outside, you and your dog will be cozy inside. This game will give your dog a good workout for their mind and possibly their body. It will help your dog to focus and concentrate on what is required. This mind stimulation is important as it takes clarity and purpose to learn new tricks. Your dog will love the attention and it is an ideal bonding time. A lot of patience is required from you, as some tricks take longer to learn than others. Praise and cuddles will achieve more than impatience. It will also keep your dog interested for longer. Remember it has to be fun, or your dog will lose interest and wander off.
Step
1
Choose a trick
Keep it simple for your dog - teach one trick at a time. Don't try a dozen new tricks, that will just confuse your companion. So, one trick per session is the rule. It may be just to teach your dog how to roll over on command. Start slowly and show your dog what you expect them to do. When they get it right - reward them.
Step
2
Props to help
You could use a small dog biscuit to train your keen canine to roll over. Or, to get away from too many treats, use a new toy. From a lying position, get your dog to follow the toy as you take it over the back of them forcing them to roll to keep it in view. Let them have a quick hold, then command to drop it and do it again. Once your dog has the roll down pat, you can get them to do a series of rolls. Set a timer so that at ten minute intervals they get a special treat to keep it interesting. It may be a lap around the house (inside) or five minutes to munch on the new toy. Use your imagination to help you out.
Step
3
Don't overdo it
You can teach your dog a whole lot of new tricks over a period of rainy days. The important thing is to remember to keep it fun and not to overdo each session. Dogs will get bored if you go on for too long; let them rest, give them a break. Let what you have taught them sink in. If you do this, your dog will love wet days and get trained at the same time.
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More Fun Ideas...

Stairway to Fitness

This exercise is brilliant for a rainy day dog, it will burn off that pent up energy. If you join in as well, you will both get fit. The game consists of running or walking up and down the stairs several times. Make it interesting for your dog with little treat 'finds' at the top or bottom. Or they could go up the stairs, select a toy and bring it down. This game is best suited for dogs over a year old, as steps can cause injury to the bones of a growing puppy. Dull, cold or rainy days can dampen the will to go out for a walk, or torrential rain will certainly wash away your motivation! If you have a set of stairs, then what more do you need? The game is a no brainer to set up, and is a great exercise to get the heart rate pumping and to exercise those muscles. It doesn't have to be done at top speed, older dogs can walk up and down and still get valuable exercise.

The Four Legged Housemaid

Are you sick of picking up after everyone? Are you grumpy when you are left with all the cleaning up? Well, here is the answer. Dogs love to help, they enjoy being busy. So how about you train your dog how to help you clean up? You may even find it fun, your dog certainly will. Start teaching them with a pile of toys that they have to pick up and drop into a basket. Use a distinctive 'special' container so that as soon as you get it out, they know its clean up time. This activity gives a dog a chance to help and to be involved in a family activity, and we all know how they just LOVE to do those things! This activity can be repeated during the day, whenever you need a hand to tidy up. If you have children, it is a sneaky fun way of teaching them to clean up as well. They see how much fun the dog is having and naturally want to join in!

Conclusion

Rainy days need not be a bore anymore - in fact if you use inside games to train and play with your dog, you will welcome the rain. Of course all dogs vary in the amount of activity they need, so match any games to your dog's physical activity level. Your dog can learn how to help you tidy up the house by teaching them to fetch toys, clothes or shoes and put them into a basket. Or they can wear off some energy by using those stairs as an endurance course, and hallways are ideal areas for fetch the soft ball, or an obstacle course. Fun doesn't need to cost a fortune or even involve travel. If the heavens open and your dog is stuck inside, then make it fun. They can even have a buddy over to play with! That way you and your friend can have a chat over a steaming hot coffee, while the dogs play. Dogs are famous for their ability to live in the moment and enjoy any situation. They are the ultimate positive thinkers. So why not take a leaf out of their book and set up a day to wag about?