Yesterday we talked about what to do if you’ve got a chubby puppy, a husky Husky, or simply stated: a portly pooch. But what to do about rainy days and the impending winter season? Historically we all put on extra weight in the winter months, right? Not necessarily. Rainy days and winter days need not mean boredom.
Unto each life a little rain must fall, but that doesn’t mean a day of boredom and/or mischief for Fido. Using a little ingenuity, a bit of resourcefulness and some new technologies, Fido won’t mind the cold or wet weather. Indoors means fun time, too.
Hide and go seek is a perfect year-round game for dogs of all ages. Not only does this game work perfectly on rainy days, but it heightens a dog’s sense of smell in a fun and rewarding manner. Start out with a few of your pooch’s favorite treats. This game will require two people initially. One person stays with Fido in a room while the other hides. When ready to be sought, the hidee lets out a “come, Fido” or “whoo hoo” sound to initiate the game. As Fido scours room to room, occasionally let out a verbal signal. Once found, praise him like he just won an Olympic medal and reward with a treat. Repeat. One caveat: Be sure the favorite Limoges vase or grandma’s heirloom plates are removed first.
Fido can’t fire up the PSP or Nintendo and play video games but he can engage in some good old-fashioned game play. The Nina Ottosson Collection of games is designed to exercise the brain. These activity toys encourage problem solving in a multitude of ways: finding hidden treats via lifting and pushing blocks, pushing pieces and turning discs. The Kong line of mind-stimulating toys fit the bill on a rainy day. Stuff treats inside the opening and Fido must problem solve to access the reward inside. Patience and persistence means puppy puddles of fun!
Have a pooch who gets cabin fever when stuck inside? I asked Canine Fitness Trainer Gail Miller Bisher what she does to encourage her clients to commit to Fido’s exercise even on rainy days. “To live a healthy canine lifestyle, a dog should be getting 20 to 60 minutes of exercise each day and whether he needs to lose weight or is simply maintaining a healthy fitness level that means consistency,” Bisher reported.
Sitting Up to beg for 10 reps will help strengthen your dog’s core muscles improving balance and stability. Those core muscles are used for walking, trotting, jumping and many other actions so it is important to strengthen them regularly.
Rolling Over is another good exercise for core muscles. Do four to five rolls each direction so you are targeting muscles equally.
Shaking Hands is a nice stretch for the shoulder muscles but be sure to do both front paws 5 to 10 reps for a balanced workout.
Commando Crawling on his belly for 10 feet following a healthy, low-fat treat. This is good for rear end, shoulders and core muscles.
Tug-of-War with a toy or towel is a great indoor exercise for strengthening the rear end, shoulders and abdomen. Remember not to lift the dog’s head back when playing tug of war.
Fido can engage in these activities on road trips as well, so be sure to pack these essentials when going on a vacation or overnight venture. Let the games begin, Fido’s ready!
What’s your favorite indoor doggie game?