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The Rainy Day Blues: Top Tips to Keep Your Dog Entertained Indoors

It’s official, I am one dog bath away from a menty-b! How ‘bout you? 

Normally I really enjoy a rainy day dog walk but recently London has been welsh levels of wet and my tiny car and tiny flat can’t deal anymore. 

While we can cosy up with a good book or binge-watch our favourite TV shows, our dogs can often find themselves bored and restless stuck indoors. With a little creativity and effort however, you can turn a dreary day into a fun-filled indoor adventure for your canine companion. Games, Puzzles, Interactive Feeders and Training are all an excellent way to use your dogs energy without stepping foot outside. I’m a BIG fan of not walking my dogs every day regardless of the forecast, rest days are important for us all.

My go-to for activity prompts and ideas is always going to be my deck of Calm Dog Games which has five categories of enrichment activities. I’ve picked out 5 of our favourites across each category for you to use with your dog during this horrid weather. Pick up a deck with our exclusive 5% off discount code 'CWTCHES' to enjoy even more excellent enrichment activities with your dog. 

🎾 Game 1

Focus Game: Treasure Island (Scent Game)

Play over multiple sessions, gradually increasing the distance. Once your dog can identify a scent you can challenge them to locate in larger areas. 

You will need: 3 x Identical Balls

1 x Source of Scent (e.g. clove or lavender oil)

1 x Marker Pen

1 x Jar of Training Treats

Step 1: Have your dog wait or maintain a sitting position. Take a few steps away from them and place three tennis balls on the floor (1 is scented, draw an X on it for your visual). Return to your dogs side and cue them to find the scented ball (e.g. Go Find, Lavender)

Step 2: When they nose the correct ball, mark (Yes or Good) and walk over to them at source to reward (pay out with a treat). Encourage them back to the starting point, returning to their original position.

Step 3: Switch around the balls making sure not to cross contaminate scent

Step 4: Repeat the process around 3-5 times. End the game by throwing an unscented ball to play with.

Top Tip: Keep your scented ball in a sealed container or food bag for future play and make a note of which scent you used. 

You can level up this game once your dog has got the hang of it. Check out the Calm Dog Deck for Level 2 Gameplay. 

🧶 Game 2

Puzzle Game: Honey Badger

Investing in interactive toys and puzzles which are designed to challenge your dog's problem-solving skills are an excellent way of entertaining and challenging your dog. There are various toys available, such as treat-dispensing balls and puzzle feeders that require your dog to work for their reward. Most of these require your dog to push a ball around to release the food. Make this activity more engaging for dogs by reversing this action as pulling more closely mimics the act of taking apart a meal. We love this cage ball by Yikko 

You will need: Honeycomb/caged ball

Towels/Rolls of Fleece

Step 1: Roll up food in multiple long pieces of fleece. Twist and stuff through the honeycomb ball so the can criss cross each other. You can tie knots at each end of the roll to make it more challenging. 

Step 2: Give this to your dog to take apart to release the food. 

Top Tip: Make sure the fabric strips are big enough not to be a choking hazard

🏀 Game 3

Bond Game: Commando

This is an excellent confidence builder and team work game. Create an obstacle course for your dog using anything to hand.

Step 1: Encourage your dog to JUMP on, in, over, inside or out of something. STAND on, or MOVE AROUND on, FACE in and SEEK out food.

Top Tips: Use cushions, an empty bin, large cardboard boxes, a blanket, or stack of hardcover books for your materials. 

❗️Beware not to use anything they could get stuck in. Jumping is not appropriate for puppies.

⚽️ Game 4

Calm Game: Snuffler

Seeking out goodies is satisfying and rewarding for dogs. Since this requires sustained sniffing it can also be very calming. 

You will need: You can use a snuffle mat (felt or fleece strips tied to a heavy-duty mat) or make your alternative by laying down old towels, clothes etc into a box. 

Step 1: Stuff food into the snuffle mat or place it among the layers of fabric. You can include some higher value treats among this as a bonus to make it more motivating. 

Step 2: Direct your dog to the snuffle mat and encourage them to ‘go snuffle’. If they are new to snuffling you can place a few pieces of food on top for easy access. 

Note: If your dog tried to flip or pick up and shake the snuffle mat, place it back down on the floor and encourage them back onto it. You may need to hold it down to begin with. Whilst flipping and shaking the mat is very clever and a form of enrichment in itself the snuffling action is more calming. 

🏉 Game 5

Play Game: Baller

This one is a low-key ball game to play at home. 

You will need: 1 x Ball

1 x Blanket or Pipe

Step 1: Create a slide with a pipe bend or blanket (e.g. angled off a sofa)

Step 2: Drop a ball down the slide for your dog to chase and fetch.

Step 3: Encourage them to retrieve the ball to the top of the slide to play again. You can do this by holding your open palm over the top of the slide.

Top Tip: Use a different toy for dogs who have an unhealthy obsession with ball toys.

Don't let rainy days dampen your dog's spirits. With these top tips, you can keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated indoors. Whether it's engaging in interactive games, setting up DIY agility courses, or practising obedience training, there are plenty of ways to beat the rainy day blues and strengthen the bond between you and your dog. So next time the rain clouds roll in, embrace the opportunity for indoor fun and quality time with your canine companion.

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