A little bit of rain is nice and your dog may enjoy some invigorating weather. But when it really pours and blows for long periods, the rain can become a challenge. You may wonder what to do with your dog when it really rains hard. Who wants to go out when it is really pouring down? Rain can cause other complications like a bored dog or a pooch who doesn’t want to go outside to potty. So what can you do with your dog when it is wet and miserable outside?
Actually, there is a lot you can do with your dog on rainy days. You will just need to be a little creative and flexible. Here are some things you can do:
- Play indoor games
- Brush up on training
- Get weather updates and run out for quick walks during breaks in the rain
- Acclimate your pup to wet weather
- Buy some rain gear for your dog
- Create a shelter to protect from the rain
- Get a pee pad for inside
- Visit dog friendly stores for extra fun
Keep reading to find out more how you can keep your dog busy, create activities during rainy days, keep your dog from soiling your house, and prevent your dog from being bored.
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When it is Really Pouring Down Rain Step Up the Indoor Activities
Play a Variety of Indoor Games with Your Dog When it Rains
Most dogs have a lot of energy and need daily exercise to keep them happy. As an alternative to exercising outside, games can be great things to do on rainy days. Games can also burn up energy by providing mental stimulation and fun. You can create your own games, buy puzzle toys, or exercise your dog with low-key games like fetch or tug of war.
If you have a muffin pan you can use it to hide small treats or kibble in some of the pans. Then cover each one with a tennis ball and watch your dog have fun trying to find the treats. You can also use bowls to cover treats. Place the treats under some bowls but not others as your dog watches. Then let your dog see if he can remember which bowls are hiding treats.
You can also hide treats for your dog to find. First, place your dog in the bathroom or bedroom and then scatter treats all over the house. When you let him out he will have a great time running around and sniffing them out. Sniffing is actually very fun and soothing to a dog and is one of their favorite activities.
My dogs love this game and run into the bathroom each time I say, “Let’s play hide the treats!” It gives them some good exercise and stimulation as they scout out the kibble I have hidden in shoes, under rugs, on stair steps and in corners. And because there are two of them, they race around pretty fast to gobble up as many treats as possible!
Fortunately, there are hundreds of great puzzle games on the market that your dog can enjoy on a rainy day. Some of the best ones are the easiest and most simple to use such as Kong toys. These safe and durable toys are the gold standard for long-lasting toys that your dogs will love.
My favorites are the Classic Kong Cone which can be filled with treats and licked and chewed on for hours. I fill my dog’s cones with peanut butter or soft cheese and it keeps them busy for at least 30 minutes. They are made of hard, durable rubber and work well for aggressive chewers. I bought two cones 4 years ago and they are still in great shape. I just wash them periodically to keep them clean and free of bacteria.
My other favorite Kong toy is the Kong Wobbler. this is a larger, plastic cone that is weighted so it wobbles around as an interactive toy. The bottom screws off and I can place a handful of kibble or small treats in the base. It has small holes for the kibble to fall out as the dog pushes it around. Sometimes I feed my dogs’ entire dinner using this toy.
Other puzzle toys that hide treats in compartments can be really fun and challenging. My favorite puzzle game is the Outward Hound Hide N Slide toy. It is considered a level 2 challenge and it takes my dogs about 10 minutes to figure out how to get to all of the hidden treats.
Low-Key Indoor Exercise to Keep Your Pup Moving
Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can always find ways to play some low-key games like fetch. Use a long hallway to play fetch with a soft ball or simply roll a ball across the living if you don’t want to break lamps! I sometimes just sit on the couch and play keep away from my dogs by kicking a ball around as I watch the news. To engage them a little more I sometimes throw the ball upstairs and make them run up and down the staircase several times.
Another way to get my dogs to run around is by playing hide and seek with them. They love it and have become quite good at finding me hiding in a shower, in a closet, or behind the bed. I always have treats ready to reward them when they find me.
And of course, there is always the fallback, tug-of-war game which you can play with their favorite, tough toys. I usually avoid rope toys as threads from the rope can be swallowed and might be dangerous to their GI tract. Instead, I use tough rubber toys or a couple of their stuffed animals made from hardy materials. You can see more about our favorite toys here.
Training is a Great Way to Make Good Use of a Rainy Day!
Sometimes the best way to make good use of a wet, blustery day is to brush up on your dog’s training. Revisit old commands and teach some new ones. This will keep them active and interested. Training is also a really good way to strengthen the bond with your dog. It improves communication and is something you are doing together.
I sometimes create low-key agility training courses in my dining and living rooms. I have my dogs crawl under chairs, jump over a broomstick which I lay on top of chairs or blocks, and create a little maze under the dining room table they have to weave through to get to the treats. They love it and we are all exhausted when we are done!
Get Used to Dealing With Rainy Days!
Since we seem to be experiencing more extreme weather in recent years, we may need to better prepare for wet, cold days. Just as a raincoat helps keep us warm and protected, think about getting a raincoat for your dog like this best-selling poncho at Amazon. You can also see some good recommendations at insider.com for dog raincoats to fit various needs.
If your dog does not like wearing a raincoat or does not need one due to the size or thickness of the coat, you can always get a super large, wind-resistant umbrella to cover both you and your dog. I prefer the automatic pop-up type as I am usually holding a leash in one hand and an umbrella in the other as we walk in the rain.
Another thing I do on rainy days is to make sure the weather alerts on my phone are turned on. I get alerts for when the rain will begin and when it will stop. The alerts are usually pretty accurate and I take advantage of them and quickly dash out to the park with my pooches during a break in the rain. Although, one time an alert was a bit off and we all got soaked!
Even if your dog is not fond of getting wet, he will get used to the rain if you keep your outings short during mild rain or sprinkles. Most dogs get pretty excited once they are outside and will not notice the rain once they are sniffing around. Then they can take care of business!
What to Do if Your Dog Will Not Go Outside to Potty on a Rainy Day
First, try to watch for breaks or periods of lighter rain in the morning and early evening. Then encourage your dog to go outside. If he refuses to go out, entice him with a handful of treats. Walk with him to a place in the yard he usually pees and scatter some treats. Once he gets distracted he may decide to go potty before running back into the house.
You can also take him outside with an umbrella and on a leash and try to keep him covered while he sniffs around. Some dogs are afraid of the howling wind and the deluge of cold water. So, do what you can to protect your dog. Consider making a little sheltered area near your backdoor or encourage him to pee under an overhang or covered patio. This may not be ideal, but better than peeing in the house!
If your dog is a small terrier or has a really thin coat like a Greyhound, the cold rain may just be too much. So, consider an alternative such as pee pads which you can place in the bathroom, laundry room, or garage.
But you will have to train your dog to use them. Take him to the pee pad and give the “go potty” command. You may have to repeat this. When he goes, give him a treat immediately and a lot of praise. You can also put a few drops of training spray on the pad, in the beginning, to entice your dog and let him know this is the right place to pee.
You can also get real grass sod with trays for a patio, garage, or even a bathroom. They can last several weeks and are easily disposed of in your trash or compost container. A subscription can be set up to have a new piece of grass turf delivered on a regular basis. Dogs seem to really love them and will even poop on them!
Go on Special Outings to Keep Your Dog from Sleeping too Much or Being Bored on Rainy Days
If all else fails and you and your dog really need to get out on a rainy day, try going to some dog-friendly stores. Probably the most exciting place for your dog will be a large, local pet store. This will be scent-heaven for your pooch, but watch out! Whatever he grabs to chew on, you will probably have to buy! Some malls allow dogs if they are on a leash. And several retail stores such as Lowes or Home Depot welcome dogs. See my post, How to Keep Your Dog Entertained in Winter for a list of national dog-friendly retailers.
Dogs do tend to sleep a little more on rainy days. This could be a good thing. Just like us, they tend to burrow in on bad weather days for a long winter’s nap and get some extra rest. But if you are worried that your dog is lying around and sleeping too much, be sure to keep him engaged in indoor activities and special outings.
There are actually plenty of things to do with your dog on a rainy day. You just need to be a little more creative and plan ahead. Make sure you get those weather alerts on your phone and plan for walks during brief breaks in the rain. Play more indoor games and find dog-friendly places to take your dog for special outings.
And by all means, invest in a really good umbrella and rain jacket for both you and your dog!