There are plenty of fun indoor activities you and your dog can do together when it's wet outside. From playing a game of fetch in the hallway to constructing an agility course in the living room, the only limitation is your imagination.
All dogs need mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis to keep them happy and healthy. How much depends on a dog's breed or mix, age, temperament and health. In general, a young adult dog needs at least 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise plus a good dose of mental stimulation. This can take the form of teaching your dog a new trick, giving him an interactive toy or visiting someplace new together.
So what are you waiting for? Don't let Mother Nature stop you and your dog from enjoying the day. Click on to discover five pup-pleasing ideas that'll help you both beat the rainy-day blues
5: Go For a Romp
Indoor dog parks offer climate-controlled play areas to keep pooches dry on cold, drizzly days.
For a fee, dogs get to romp on football-sized fields of artificial turf, divided into sections for small pooches and big ones. Staff members patrol the park to make sure everyone plays nicely and to break up any skirmishes.
Some parks boast coffee shops with free wi-fi, swimming pools and pet boutiques. The Fetch Club in New York City has a movie theater where people and pooches can kick back and watch classic canine flicks. Meanwhile, the Zoom Room, located in several U.S. cities, has a doggie disco -- complete with revolving mirrored ball and flashing lights for dogs to chase -- for birthday parties, "bark mitzvahs" and charity fundraisers.
4: Go Shopping
In most communities, finding a pet-friendly store isn't difficult. Big box pet retail chains as well as doggie boutiques and bakeries welcome well-behaved pooches. But so do other businesses that are run by pet lovers. A local gift shop in my hometown of Phoenix, for instance, warmly invites people and their pets inside. And crunchy bacon-and-cheese-flavored biscuits are given to four-legged shoppers.
If you go to a pet store, take your time meandering up and down each aisle so your dog can investigate all the products with his nose. Be prepared to spend most of the time in the food section. While there, consider buying an interactive toy (i.e., food puzzles or treat-dispensing balls) to keep your dog entertained when you get back home.
3: Pamper Your Pooch
Spending an hour or two gently grooming your dog is a great way to spend quality time together when it's raining outside.
Think of it as a spa day. You can pamper your pooch with a blueberry facial, exfoliating herbal bath or doggie nail polish. At minimum, here's what you'll need to get your pet looking her best.
- Brush. For long or thick double coats use a soft slicker brush (resembling a wire hairbrush) or metal comb. For short, smooth-coated breeds a pin or bristled brush works best. Before bathing, brush your dog's coat to remove any dead hair and tangles.
- Shampoo. Human shampoos dry out a dog's coat and skin, so use a brand formulated for pets. A good rule of thumb to follow when buying a shampoo is that less is more. The fewer ingredients a product contains, the less chance your dog will experience an adverse reaction.
- Nail trimmer. A nail clipper or dremel (a motorized grinder for shortening a pet's nails) works well. Cut your dog's nails every three to four weeks, or grind them using a dremel each week
2: Get Frisky
An almost endless amount of fun but still challenging, indoor games exist for you and your pooch to play together.
Of course, you'll want to select a game that not only interests you but your dog, too. His breed or mix most likely holds a clue to what type of rainy-day diversion will pique his curiosity and hold his interest. Retrievers, for example, like to fetch whereas most hounds love to use their noses, so games involving these types of activities are a good choice. You may need to try several games, though, before finding one that your dog absolutely loves. Short on ideas? Read 50 Games to Play with Your Dog, or visit The Dog Trainer Web site to get started.
Unwind in the afternoon by playing a yoga DVD created for pets and their people.
Doga, as it's commonly called, has all the same health benefits of yoga: increased flexibility, strength, energy and endurance. The only difference, of course, is that you're sharing the mat with your pooch.
During this ancient exercise with a modern twist, expect to help position your pet into poses as well as do your own. In some classes, owners also perform massage and reflexology on their dogs, adding to the overall calming effect.
Doga DVDs are available for purchase online, and in-person classes are held in dozens of cities nationwide.