Tips & Tricks

How to Entertain Your Dog on Rainy Day

Rainy days can be a bummer for both you and your furry friend. When the weather outside is dreary, it’s easy for your dog to become bored and restless. But don’t despair! There are lots of engaging and stimulating activities you can do with your pup indoors to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. 

dog rainy days

As a dog parent who has had a puppy go through a case of warts, spaying, and giardia within a year, I’ve gathered tips from dog trainers and experts to develop routines that keep my working dog entertained and enriched. These games and activities have not only helped manage my one-year-old puppy’s energy, but they have also improved our bond and her ability to focus in distracting environments. I’m excited to share these tips with you!

Let’s dive in!

1. Pull Out Your Interactive Dog Puzzle Toys

Physical exercise is important for dogs, but mental stimulation is just as equally crucial. Interactive dog puzzle toys are a fantastic way to challenge your pup’s problem-solving skills and keep them engaged on rainy days when outdoor play is limited. 

These innovative toys come in various shapes and sizes, each offering a unique challenge.

Slow feeders: These feeders feature intricate mazes that make it harder for your dog to access their food, encouraging them to eat slower and use their mind. 

Food puzzle toys: These toys require your dog to manipulate them in specific ways to release hidden treats, providing a sense of accomplishment. Snuffle mats have long, soft fibers perfect for hiding treats deep within, tapping into your dog’s keen sense of smell.

When searching for the most mentally stimulating puzzles, consider toys designed to entice your pup to push, roll, and flip them to unlock rewards. Fill the toys with kibble or treats, and watch as your dog uses their intelligence and skill to figure out how to release the tasty prizes. It’s a fun and engaging way to burn some of that endless puppy energy!

2. Try to Find Me

Ready for some hilarious fun that also exercises your dog’s mental, physical, and tracking skills? Play a game of hide and seek! Simply hide behind a door or under a bed and call your furry friend. Watch as they sniff everywhere, sometimes coming right up to where you are without finding you. Try to keep from bursting out in laughter as their nose takes them somewhere else. Then, bask in their wiggly excitement when they finally figure out where you are! It’s a silly and interactive game that strengthens your bond.

3. Create a Calming Lick Mat

Lick mats are a great way to keep your dog occupied and calm during online meetings or when you need some quiet time. Spread peanut butter, pumpkin, or another tasty treat over a silicone mat with ridges, and let your furry bestie work to lick it clean. It’s a time-consuming activity that keeps them focused and content. Plus, the repetitive licking action can have a soothing effect on your pup.

4. Tug of War

Tug of war is a classic game that dogs love! If your pup doesn’t already have a tug rope or braid, you can easily make one using old t-shirts or even strips of denim from jeans you no longer wear. Cut the material into strips, braid them together, and knot both ends. Your dog will especially love this game if the tug material smells like you!

Tug of war is not only a great way to interact with your dog, but it also provides excellent exercise. Watch as your pup twists and turns, trying to figure out how to get the braid away from you when just pulling doesn’t work. It’s fantastic for both mental and physical stimulation.

dog tug of war

5. Fetch

You don’t need a large yard to play fetch with your dog. If you have a hallway or set of stairs, you’ve got all you need! Find a soft ball, like a tennis ball, or use a quiet stuffed toy. Toss it down the hall or stairs and watch as your canine catcher grabs it or runs after it. Some dogs can stay entertained with this game for hours!

To make it more challenging, try bouncing the toy off the wall instead of throwing it straight. Your dog will have to adjust their angle of approach, tapping into their natural problem-solving skills. You’ll be amazed at how good they are at figuring out the geometry of the game!

dog fetch

6. Hide & Seek with Treats

Take your regular game of hide and seek to the next level by incorporating treats! Start with something extra smelly and delicious, like freeze-dried liver. Teach your dog the game by tossing the food their way and saying, “Find it.” Once they’ve grasped the concept, make it more challenging by strategically placing treats out of view and encouraging them with the “find it” command.

As your dog improves, you can up the ante by hiding treats in separate rooms or using toys instead. This game taps into your dog’s natural scent-tracking abilities and provides a fantastic mental workout. It’s a fun way to engage their senses and keep them entertained indoors.

Egg Carton Scent Game

7. Create a Shredding Box

Dogs love to shred things, so why not create a designated shredding box for them? Gather some cardboard boxes, recyclable paper, old towels, and your dog’s favorite treats or food. Wrap the treats in the paper, toss them into the box, and let your pup enjoy the thrill of shredding their way to treat town!

While this activity may leave a trail of shredded paper and treats behind, the satisfied and tired pup at the end is well worth the cleanup effort. Plus, allowing your dog to express their natural shredding behavior in a controlled environment can reduce the likelihood of them engaging in undesirable shredding elsewhere in your home.

8. Watch Some Doggy-Approved Television

Rainy days are the perfect time to snuggle up on the couch with your furry friend and watch some TV. Believe it or not, some dogs enjoy watching animal shows, movies, or even sports like hockey or soccer. The fast-paced action can capture their attention and keep them entertained.

Even if your pup doesn’t watch intently, they’ll love snuggling next to you while you relax. It’s a great way to bond and spend quality time together when the weather outside is less than ideal.

popcorn girl food dog eating

9. Bake Some Healthy, Dog-Safe Treats

If you enjoy baking, why not whip up some healthy, dog-safe treats for your furry friend? It’s a great way to pass the time on a rainy day, and your pup will absolutely love taste-testing your creations. Check out YouTube channels like Barking Good Chef for plenty of recipe ideas to get you inspired, from birthday cakes to simple biscuits.

When baking for your dog, make sure to avoid any toxic ingredients such as chocolate, xylitol, or macadamia nuts. Stick to dog-friendly ingredients like pumpkin, peanut butter, and whole wheat flour. Your pup will appreciate the tasty homemade treats, and you’ll feel good knowing exactly what’s going into their snacks.

10. Gift Your Pup with a Spa Day

Rainy days are perfect for pampering your pooch with a relaxing spa day at home. Most dogs love being brushed with a soft brush, and the rhythmic, repetitive motion can be soothing for both of you. Take your time and gently work through any tangles or mats in their fur.

If your pup is due for a bath, lather them up in warm, sudsy water and give them a gentle massage as you clean their coat. Watch as they melt under your massaging fingers! Finish off with a relaxing blow dry, and admire their soft, shiny fur.

Make the experience all about your dog, focusing on their comfort and enjoyment. You might be surprised at how calming these simple grooming activities can be for you, too. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your furry friend while helping them look and feel their best.

play with dog

11. Set Up an Indoor Agility Course or Silly Obstacle Course

Agility training isn’t just for athletic or high-energy dogs. It’s a fun activity that can benefit most dogs and their caregivers, improving focus, concentration, and physical fitness. If you have the space, consider setting up an indoor agility course using household items or a store-bought kit.

For smaller spaces or a more playful version, create a silly obstacle course that doesn’t require any special equipment. Have your dog weave around toilet paper rolls, jump over your outstretched leg, or crawl under a blanket tunnel. Use your imagination and get creative with items you already have around the house.

Agility training and obstacle courses provide excellent mental and physical stimulation for your dog. Plus, it’s a fun way for you to interact and bond with your furry friend while stuck inside on a rainy day.

dog agility training jumping breed

12. Brush Up on Training Basics

Rainy days are the ideal time to revisit and reinforce your dog’s basic obedience training. If you find yourself repeating commands like “sit” or “stay” multiple times, it’s a sign that your pup could benefit from a refresher course.

Incorporate clicker training into your routine to help your dog identify when they’ve done something correctly and associate the reward with their action. Remember to say the cue only once and wait patiently for your dog to respond. If they don’t follow the cue, toss a treat away from you to “reset” and try again.

Challenge your pup by testing how long they can hold a sit, stay, or down position. Increase the duration gradually, as this takes a lot of self-control and can be mentally exhausting for your dog. You can also incorporate distractions like the TV, an open door (with a pet gate in place), or sounds from another room to proof their skills.

the girl and the dog are playing

13. Focus on Teaching One New Trick

In addition to reinforcing basic obedience, rainy days are perfect to teach your dog a new trick. Spending just 10 minutes a day focused on a new skill can greatly enhance your bond and provide mental stimulation for your pup.

Start with simpler tricks like “high five,” which is a great alternative to jumping up on guests. Move on to more complex tricks like “spin around,” “roll over,” or even “talking” with dog buttons. Take your time and break the trick down into achievable stages, rewarding your dog for each successful step.

Remember, if your dog doesn’t pick up the new trick within 10 minutes, don’t worry. Rainy weeks and snowed-in days provide ample opportunity to work on more challenging skills. Be patient, keep training sessions brief and fun, and celebrate your pup’s progress along the way.

Final Words

Rainy days don’t have to be boring for you and your furry friend. With a touch of creativity and a few basic supplies, you can turn a dreary day inside into a fun and engaging experience for your dog. From interactive puzzle toys and games of hide-and-seek to agility courses and training sessions, there are plenty of activities to keep your pup mentally and physically stimulated.

Remember, the key is to make the most of your time together. Use these rainy day activities as an opportunity to bond with your dog, reinforce your training, and create lasting memories. Your pup will value the extra attention and love, and you’ll both benefit from the quality time spent together.

So the next time the weather outside is gloomy, don’t let it dampen your spirits. Embrace the chance to slow down, stay in, and have some fun with your beloved pup. With these entertaining indoor activities, you and your dog will be hoping for more rainy days to come!