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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Exercising Your Dog on a Rainy Day

There's nothing more torturous than a house full of pups who are itching to get some playtime in. Thank goodness we now have large, climate-controlled dog superstores that allow us to walk around with our dogs inside. More than a few times I have used my local Petsmart for that very purpose. They probably thought I was lost, circling the store so many times, but it did serve its purpose to let the dogs get some OUT time.

Since then I've rediscovered the laser pointer, a great playtime tool. Pick a spot where there is plenty of distance for your dog to run back and forth. Then get his attention on the red dot and start moving it slowly. Most dogs will try to pounce on it. At this point you've got his attention and you can start moving it fast across the floor and even over objects that you don't mind the dog going over. It's a great tool for not only physical, but also mental exercise. Just don't let him catch and "hold" the dot or he may lose interest.

When you get tired of playing this game, try putting the light in the dog's toy basket, and hopefully he'll get interested in another toy. Sometimes that works for Oliver.

Other indoor games such as hide and seek are fun to play with your dog. Put them in a stay. Hide and then call them. How long does it take for them to sniff you out? If it's a long wait, you might try holding a smelly treat: cheese or something with a flavorful smell will usually do the trick. I have a copy of the book shown below. It has tons of great ideas for indoor games:

There's also the proactive approach. Check the local weather report each day. If rain is forecast for the whole day tomorrow, you might want to get a head start and give the gang some extra exercise today. Tough times take tough measures. It does work, though, from my experience.

Your last resort is to use the walk time for training indoors. An intense training session will tire out your dog's mind, which has the same effect on his body by bedtime. You can practice Sit-Stays, Down-Stays, Come, Leave It, Take It, Drop It, and lots of other commands--all inside--and keep it fresh by using different treats and toys for each exercise. Just keep the exercises short and spread them throughout the day. Even dogs get tired with too much stimulation, and then they loose focus.

Today is Woofing Wednesday at my other blog, Organic Journey Online. My post there was inspired by a young lady who has done much to help the homeless dogs in our area. Hope you'll check it out and see my Woofing Wednesday dog photo, while you're there.

What works for your dog? I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a comment at the link below this post.


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