Dogs are intelligent animals, originally bred to complete certain tasks. Nowadays, they are mostly companions rather than workers. Sometimes, that can leave them unmotivated.
According to dog psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren, the most important stimuli for dogs include:
- Exposure to interesting places and things
- New and exciting experiences
- Constant opportunities to learn things and solve problems
- Investigating and interacting with objects and the environment around them
If your dog spends their time sitting in the house all day, without any of the stimuli mentioned above, they are very likely to get bored. And a bored dog's only limitation is their imagination. If you do not give your dog something to do, they will come up with self-entertainment ideas of their own, which of course, almost always include mischievous behaviors such as loud and excessive barking, chewing your shoes and clothes, and demolishing your furniture. Keeping your dog mentally stimulated and out of trouble is your responsibility.
But what can you do when it is pouring rain outside, and your pooch with all-day stamina is bored? Keeping your dog entertained or tired can be quite a challenge in itself, and even more so when outdoor activities are not an option.
In such cases, you are your dog's primary source of entertainment. Don't worry though, more often than not, coming up with ideas on how to keep your dog busy is more exhausting than actually doing it. There are plenty of fun indoor activities that will keep your dog's mind and body engaged.
Keeping Busy Indoors
There is much opportunity to keep your pup busy and mentally stimulated inside. On a rainy day, the following activities are ideal:
Puzzle Toys, Treat Dispensing Toys and Work-to-Eat Toys
Instead of giving your dog a short-lasting bowl full of tasty kibble, provide them with a toy that requires thinking and maneuvering to get the kibble out. There are many toys like these. They help your dog use their brain and stay mentally stimulated while eating. Your dog will get mentally tired without even noticing, and even have fun doing it.
Play the Shell Game
The Shell Game is a simple problem-solving game. Let your dog watch you place a treat under one of three cups, then shuffle the cups around and encourage your dog to find the treat. It's mentally stimulating, and it helps your dog work on their problem-solving skills.
Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Teaching your dog to put their toys away in a container can be a lot of fun. Search the Internet for videos on how to do it. You can also teach your dog a lot of other tricks since mastering new skills boosts your dog's confidence and gives them more mental stimulation. You don't need to be an expert dog trainer; you'll just follow easy instructions and reward your dog with savory things. Just remember, the objective is to stimulate your dog, so don't worry if your pooch doesn't learn anything new.
Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek is a fun game that allows your dog to use their super sniffer and hunting and tracking instincts at the same time. At first, you should let your dog see you hide some food around the room and let them find it. Once they get the gist of the game, start hiding the food without them watching. Over time, you can replace the food with a toy or even hide yourself.
Doggy Pamper Session
Turning rainy days into spa and pampering days will stimulate your dog and allow you to spend fun and quality time together.
Stretching and massaging your dog leads to improved circulation, a surge of released endorphins, and reduced stiffness. To massage your dog, apply slight pressure with your hands on tension-holding spots or spots your furry friend enjoys.
Play a Game of Tug of War
Tug of War is an excellent mental and physical exercise for your dog and a great teaching tool. For this game, you will need energy and a rope-like toy from the local pet store. You can also use old shredded towels, blankets or T-shirts.
Once you have a pulling toy and know the rules, the game can start. Always remember to follow the basic rule of this activity, the game stops if your dog's teeth touch your hand.
Teach Your Dog to Chase Bubbles
Most dogs are fascinated by catching bubbles, and there is a wide selection of pet bubble making toys on the market.
At first, your dog may be surprised, but if you encourage and reinforce the behavior, they 'll soon realize that they can pop the bubbles when they touch them. Be sure to play in a room with enough space.
Fun that Fits
Dogs require both physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. The amount of stimulation depends on your dog's breed, age, temperament, activity needs, and health condition. Generally, young adult dogs need at least 30 minutes of physical exercise and a good dose of mental stimulation.
Physical activity alone will only tire your dog's body while leaving the mind even more energized. That's why it's important to engage your dog in mental activity as well.
Dogs lacing mental stimulation tend to show signs of dissatisfaction and unhappiness, which lead to destructive, restless, hyperactive and attention-seeking behaviors. Those behaviors are an outlet for the dog's excessive energy.