Sure, your dog needs to go outdoors for a daily walk or two, but sometimes you need to cut the dog walk short because of rainy or even stormy weather. Don’t worry about doing that, because there are a lot of fun rainy day indoor activities with your dog you can both enjoy!
Workouts and exercise for your dog should be done rain or shine. Today, we offer seven indoor games you can play together without overexerting them or yourself.
Toss a soft toy to your dog and ask them to fetch it. When he or she does, grab a part of the toy and start shaking it to get it out of their mouth. They will resist, of course, and eventually you can loosen your grasp and let them get away. Warn him or her not to touch your hand with their teeth if they’re too close, and you must stop the game if he or she does and try it again later. They will soon catch on to this important rule.
Take note that this game:
- Will encourage them to be playful
- Will be more fun for your dog when you allow them to win more than half of the time
Playing games like tug-of-war with your dog will, in fact, give them more confidence (especially if they’re shy) as well as a good workout!
2. Find the Treats
Place some treats—like, say, chopped carrots—around the room while your dog watches you. Tell him to “Find the treats” and help him or her find them. When they are all found and eaten, throw your hands up and say, “That’s all,” or “All gone.” They will catch on soon, and after he or she has learned the signals, hide treats when he or she is not in the room. Call them into the room and give him the signal “Find the treats” to send them on the search, and signal the end of the game by hand gestures and the words “That’s all.” Your pup will love it!
3. Teach Your Dog the Names of their Toys
Name your dog’s toys when you are playing tug, or toss and fetch, or any game with their toys, and reinforce these names in their memory by saying them frequently. To help support their mastery of the names, you can combine this lesson with the next game, which is:
4. Find Your Toys
Drop a number of your pup’s toys in a big pile on the floor, and ask them to find the toys by name. For example say, “Fetch Blue Bear,” and if he or she brings you the right toy, give them a treat and lots of praise. If not, fetch Blue Bear yourself and show it to them. Then, go back and drop it on the pile and say again, “Fetch Blue Bear.” Repeat these steps until he or she picks up Blue Bear and gives it to you, then praise them and give them their treat.
Next, hide Blue Bear under the other toys while he watches you and again, say, “Fetch Blue Bear.” Help them learn to fetch the right toy and give it to you and don’t get sidetracked by a game of tug of war while you are in the middle of this game, which they may try a few times.
Eventually, when you start a new game, you can have your dog fetch a particular toy for it—the tug, or toss and fetch, or any other game—by asking for it by name so that he or she doesn’t forget the names. Since you should rotate their toys every once in a while so that he or she doesn’t become bored with them, they will learn a lot of names—which comes easier to some dogs than others. When he or she has mastered this game, they are ready for the next game, which is:
5. Put Your Toys Away
Your dog will love this game, and so will you! Help him or her learn what to do by telling them it’s time to put their toys in the toy box (or wherever you keep them). Then pick up a toy and say, “Pick up ducky” and then walk over to the toy box and say, “Drop ducky” and drop ducky into it. Your dog will be very interested. After doing this a few times, touch a toy on the floor saying, “Pick up (name)” and when he or she does, lead them to the toy box and say, “Drop (name).”
After they catch on, you will be able to point to a toy and command “Pick up (name)” followed by pointing to the toy box and saying, “Drop (name) in the toy box.” Don’t forget to have a little treat ready for them after they’ve dropped the toy in the toy box while they’re learning the game. Later, when your pup knows the game well enough and picks up and puts away all of their toys while you’re sitting back and watching them, give them a special treat. (We knew you’d like this game!
6. Hide and Seek
To play this game, your dog needs to understand the command “Stay.” If not, you need a helper who will hold your pet while you go into another room and hide. They can be released when you call to them. Keep calling if necessary until they find you, and then make a big fuss and praise him or her so that they understand you are playing a game with them. Also, work on the command to “stay.” Aside from the fact that understanding this command allows the two of you to play hide and seek without help, it is one of the most useful commands your pup can learn.
7. Chasing Bubbles
This is a great game to play when your dog needs some exercise and you aren’t feeling well. Use a child’s simple bubble solution and bubble maker and blow bubbles for your dog to chase while you are sitting in your easy chair or resting on your bed. After you’ve played this game with your pup once or twice—blowing bubbles and then chasing them and using your hand to break them—they’ll understand. Most dogs are fascinated by bubbles just like young children are! A bubble solution that is safe for a child is also safe for your dog.
Our cats need exercise, too. This is particularly the case for indoor kitties whose exercise needs are too often neglected or limited by fewer opportunities for play.
Considering that an estimated 60% of household cats are obese or overweight, there is a strong need for indoor cat activities that help beat boredom and work off calories.
If your indoor cat needs some fun and exercise infused in the otherwise humdrum routine, here are 10 of our favorite feline activities for health and wellness.
10 High-Energy Indoor Cat Activities
- Cat tree – While many cats use the tree for cozy napping, cat trees can create an opportunity for exercise: from climbing to playing hide-and-seek in the stackable cubes, along with playing with all of the attachable feather and rope toys, a cat tree is an essential for indoor cats’ exercise needs.
- Mealtime challenge – Rather than feeding your cat his entire meal in a boring bowl, make a game of it. Leave small portions of his meals in a variety of hard-to-reach spots in the home. This is also a great way to slow down a cat who tends to eat too quickly.
- Fetch – Yes, fetch! Many cats really enjoy the game and will gladly return the toy to you after each successful catch. (Small, easy to grasp and carry toys work best).
- Empty boxes – Everyone knows how much cats adore cardboard. Create a mini obstacle course for your meow pal by adding a few empty boxes or paper bags to his play area for exploration and pouncing fun.
- Doorknob toy – While you are away from home, keep your cat entertained with a variety of toys that can be swatted and batted around. Just use thick string (extra-long, sturdy cotton shoestrings are good for this purpose) and tie a favorite toy to a doorknob.
- Laser pointer – The gold standard among cat toys, the laser pointer gives cat owners the chance to interact with their pet while encouraging high energy playtime. Simply point the mystery laser beam on a floor or wall and watch your cat go wild trying to catch it.
- Bird watching – Another great idea for indoor cats is to install a few window perches for your kitty. For additional mental enrichment, position your cat’s perch in front of a window with views of bird feeders. Watch those whiskers twitch as your cat imagines a fierce hunt.
- Catnip mice – Small catnip mice are especially fun on hard surfaces, like wood or tile floors. Keep a dozen of these on hand, hiding them beneath tables and other furniture for a challenging game of mouse pounce.
- New toys – If your kitty enjoys toys and is apt to play with them whether you are there or not, try keeping things interesting by swapping out old toys with new every few months.
- Play pal – If yours is an only child cat, maybe adding another cat companion to the mix will help keep both fur buddies entertained and exercised. Remember, though, a slow introduction is best.
As you can see you can have a great time with your pooch and kitty even on rainy days when you both need to stay inside from the miserable weather! These activities will help you both have fun and keep your pets active and healthy. Enjoy!