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5 Brainy, Rainy Day Dog Games

ideas for rainy day dog games

Play is essential to every dog’s life. It's how they bond and communicate with their pack, and it's how they find out what makes them excited. It's both physically and mentally stimulating and keeps our pooches sharp and ready to take on new challenges. Physical and mental stimuli need to be in equal amounts when taking care of dogs because, what do you know? This leads to a happy and healthy dog. But what are some of the best ways to make sure we're providing our playful pups just what they need to stay happy? Check out these rainy day dog games that will keep your dog occupied while strengthening your relationship with them. 

dogs running

1. Hide and Seek - Person Edition

This fun dog game is a classic, and it's perfect for a dreary day. It has them using both their ears and snouts to find their BFF (that's you) around the house. 

Have your pooch sit in a separate room, using the stay command. This is a great game to brush up on certain commands. Leaving the room, hide somewhere nearby and call out to them after 10 seconds. Continue calling until your canine finds you and reward them with lots of praise. They'll love it. And you.

two dogs hiding under bed

Repeat this game for however long you want in the house. To make it more challenging, hide in different places and call out to them less and less each time so your dog has to rely on smell to find you. You can switch up the environment by playing in a park with a lot of trees or boulders to hide behind. 

2. Hide and Seek - Treat Edition

Another take on this classic game is using treats. Smell is incredibly important to dogs; it's how they navigate their world. Playing this game allows them to stretch their nose muscles, if you will, and get an extra tasty reward for finding their targets.

Like earlier, sit your dog in a separate room using the stay command. In another room, ‘hide’ several small treats in very obvious places if they are playing this for the first time. Return to your dog, let them sniff the hand with the treats in it, and turn them loose to the room you hid the treats. Once they have found the last treat, praise them with lots of pets. 

Once your pooch gets the hang of it, they'll search almost any room they enter. Continue doing this with fewer treats and placing them in different, more difficult places (under blankets or in the toy basket).

3. Puppy Puzzles

Another rainy day dog game option is to buy or make your own dog puzzles for your companion to ponder over in the house. These puzzles can range in complexity and size, all depending on the personality of the dog. Here are a few that can be made using items around the house…

  • Treat in the middle of a knot made by an old sock or t-shirt 
  • Treats in containers that have been stacked lopsided 
  • Safe bottles without lids with treats inside 

4. Name Game

This particular game will take a bit longer than most because it involves teaching your dog the names of their toys. (Just like when you teach your dog their name.) Dogs who like to play fetch and retrieve things for you will really go for this one. 

Start off by choosing a toy and determine a distinct, short, and descriptive name for it; for example, duck for their bird toy or baby for another. Start by playing with this toy exclusively around your dog and refer to it by its name repeatedly. If you play fetch, throw the toy and encourage them to get the toy by its chosen name. Once your dog has given it back to you, reward them with praise and continue to use the toy’s name so they become familiar with it. 

Continue doing this until you can ask your dog to bring you ‘baby’ or ‘duck’ and they bring the correct toy. After that, you can do the process all over again with another toy and impress any guests in the house with this new trick. This game is especially good for bad weather days because of the length of time it takes to teach your pet how to distinguish different toys from one another.

5. New Tricks

dog fetching ball

The tried and true way of satisfying your dog’s mental needs is to teach them new tricks. Start by going over already learn commands like sit, lay down, and stay to establish the game you are playing with your pup. Introduce a new command that builds off one of their commands that they already know, such as shake. Your dog is already sitting and it is an easy transition to give their paw to you. 

So, next time it's dreary. Or overcast. Or whatever, really... try out these rainy day dog games. You'll have a blast. Promise.

About the author:

John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, a publication built to educate over 40,000,000 dog owners on how to care for their dogs.

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