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Inside Activities to Do With Your Dog

Owner Playing with Dog
Activity is a necessity for young, energetic dogs. Behavioral issues can arise when the weather isn't nice and the pooch is left inside without their daily walk or normal yard time. However, you can make the most out of an otherwise quiet day to teach your pet new skills and to bond with them. Here are four ideas that can benefit you and your furry friend even after the rain ends. 

Do Some Training

Practice some basic obedience commands or teach them a new skill. It is often easier to keep the pup's attention when there are fewer distractions. Do the session when no one else is around and turn the radio and TV off so your voice is all they hear. Review command techniques beforehand on pet training websites and with instructive online videos. 

Focus on one command to avoid confusion and keep the sessions short. Use the behavior of your dog to determine when they are ready to move on. If possible, aim for about 15 minutes per training session and a little less if the pet is very young. Do not expect your pet to master the command after the first session. Continue the training as part of their daily routine. 

Play Brain Games

Dogs love and need a little challenge occasionally and puzzle games help to strengthen their minds and keep their senses sharp. Hide a treat or a toy inside something and have them find a way to free their reward. Use a bottle, a purchased puzzle dog toy, or a cardboard box as a hiding place. Make certain your dog sees you hide the item so they understand the game. 

Start with a simple challenge and gradually move up the complexity of the game. Always supervise the play for safety purposes when boxes or other makeshift items are in use. When you need to leave your dog home alone, you should use safe, commercially-made puzzle treat toys, which will alieve any of your pet's boredom. 

Train Your Pet as a Therapy Dog

Utilize a rainy day to begin training the pet as a therapy dog. Once trained, they can spend other stormy days out socializing as they perform a valuable service. Contact a local therapy dog organization to arrange a test to determine if your pet meets their behavior criteria. 

Prior obedience training is needed, and the pet must up to date on vaccinations. Therapy dogs offer comfort at hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Some comfort groups travel around the country to give solace to victims and first responders after natural disasters or other traumatic events. Others are in courtrooms as emotional support for victims during their testimony. 

Create Obstacle Courses

Line a hallway with chairs or set up various sizes of tables in the family room. Encourage the pet to go under, around or over the obstacles. Place treats along the course, and praise the pet as it makes its way through each maze. Make certain there are no hazards that could cause injury to the dog and remember to put away any breakable items in the area. 

The benefit is that the pet can learn new verbal commands while the exercise helps to use up their energy. Once your dog learns to climb, crawl, balance, you can install an outdoor course to keep building on this instruction. An outdoor course is a great way to get your dog the physical and mental stimuli they crave, without leaving the yard. 

Keeping your dog busy has benefits for you too. For example, you'll need to be creative to plan new games and the activities will keep you active and moving. At South San Diego Veterinary Hospital, we love to see happy pets and owners. Come visit us before any new physical activity begins or to update your dog's vaccinations.