Making my dog happy on a rainy day?
December 26, 2012 8:48 AM   Subscribe

How do I keep my puppy entertained on a rainy day? My 6&1/2 old puppy (see this previous post) has turned out to be ... rather interesting. She is not particularly high-energy and doesn't seem to take much joy in long walks. She is, however, really interested in romping and socializing with other dogs.

With the rainy weather we've been having, she seems to regard walks as unpleasant obligation, something she does because I'm making her. She doesn't like going out in the rain and in particular seems to hate getting her feet wet.

Worst of all on these rainy days, there are almost no other dogs out on walks when we're out. Interaction with other canines is what motivates her; romping and roughhousing with them provides her with the physical and mental stimulation she craves.

Without time in a doggie mosh pit, she goes crazy at home, no matter how long her walks might be. She teases the cats, chases my son, tears every piece of paper she finds to shreds. Clearly, she's bored.

I've played tug-of-war with her, filled kongs with treats, given her squeaky toys; all of these help somewhat but just don't satisfy her the way a good chase and play fight with another dog does. Suggestions?
posted by echolalia67 to Pets & Animals (15 answers total)
If there is a puppy playschool in your area I suggest you join up and give her an hour or two of socialization a day. Otherwise, are you open to getting a second dog?
posted by elizardbits at 8:51 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Lots of shops are dog-friendly. How's your puppy doing on housetraining? If she's pretty reliable, consider a field trip to Lowe's, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, PetSmart or your local landscaping shop. Many motorcycle shops are also dog-friendly. Call ahead to verify dog policies, but there should be lots of options for exploring the greater world while staying dry.
posted by workerant at 9:02 AM on December 26, 2012

Welcome to the challenging side of dog ownership! I find my guy gets exhausted by exploring new situations almost as much as physical exercise. On rainy days, I can take him with me in the car and run a bunch of errands, and though it's not as good as his usual hour or more of off-leash time with other dogs, it does serve to wear him out a bit.
posted by judith at 9:08 AM on December 26, 2012

A great way to tire out my husky is to take her to a doggy day camp (such as at a lot of PetSmart stores).
posted by HuronBob at 9:17 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Occasionally I will, when a dog is just in dire need of exhaustion, take one to PetSmart. There's so much to smell and see and car ride! It just wears out their little brains.

Otherwise I would go the doggy daycare route. Not as free as PetSmart (who am I kidding, you're not getting out of there without buying something), but at least romping is expected and encouraged more at daycare than at the store.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:17 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Dog training, work on teaching her tricks as well as basic obedience, if you can't tire them out physically then mentally is the next best thing. Cattle dogs are super smart you could train them to do pretty much anything there are lots fo great videos out there but if you get stuck look for ideas check out Jesse the Jack Russells repetoire of tricks. All taught using clicker training and positive reinforcement and most of them done with simple things found around the house.
posted by wwax at 9:22 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tricks! Our dog gets absolutely exhausted when we are teaching new tricks. It is a game, and she has to think real hard about how to get the treat she wants. When we were teaching her "crawl" three or four times (less than 15 minutes) would be enough to need a couple hour nap. Friends with crazy border collies use the same tactic.

Get a few clickers and a good clicker training book, and have fun!
posted by rockindata at 9:26 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I vote for doggie day care. It gets her out with other dogs for all that good-time romping, and you get her out of your hair for awhile.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:33 AM on December 26, 2012

Doggie daycare with a good-sized indoor play area.

Also I like the idea of taking her to a big-box pet store like Petco or Petsmart, they won't care if you just wander around, and there will be other dogs as well as lots of smells there!

Do you know any other dogs who could come over for an indoor playdate?
posted by radioamy at 9:59 AM on December 26, 2012

Response by poster: An indoor playdate would be a not-so-great idea. Not long ago, we visited the pet store around the corner. The woman who was working there brought her dog to work that day and he and Alice hit it off ... a little too well. They were playing so vigorously that they knocked over displays and completely cleared shelves of merchandise - it was total chaos. Luckily, the woman working there was used to that happening with her very high energy dog and wasn't particularly bothered by it. I don't think that your average person (myself included) would want that happening in their home.

PetSmart might be a good idea (provided Alice doesn't make another love connection with a very playful dog). We got a break in the rain this morning so she got an hour of dog park romping in - she is now blissfully napping under my desk.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:19 AM on December 26, 2012

Indoor ball? I used to throw a ball while I was reading and the doggie would chase it around the house, then bring to me to throw again. We did this for hours until she hid the ball because she was tired. I got to read, she got to play. Win-win. Get a cat? My dog would play for hours with the cat and they loved each other.
posted by fifilaru at 12:47 PM on December 26, 2012

Do you have a long-ish hallway in your home? Teach her to play fetch! Other than that, I am also going to recommend obedience and trick training.
posted by deborah at 2:36 PM on December 26, 2012

I have purchased a giant umbrella, like a golf umbrella, that helps on rainy days. It is big enough that I fit under it with my two small dogs. Neither likes the rain and sometimes won't go potty if they're getting rained on, so this was my solution. Works for me for a walk around the block.

The doggy raincoats I bought also helped but I had to cut the hood off. My dogs hated the hoods and refused to walk when I put them up.

Doggy daycare is a good option too! I like dropping them off for a play+groom combo and then vacuuming/mopping the house top to bottom without having a grumpy dog around.

Just make sure it is the kind of place that requires everyone to have their bordatella (sp?) up to date.
posted by dottiechang at 2:43 PM on December 26, 2012

Best answer: Nthing the idea of tricks, especially ones that require a lot of physical movement - the trainer at our dog's PetSmart classes recommended repeated "jump through the hoop" as a good dog-tucker-outer, along with puppy pushups (basically having them do a sit, then a down, then a sit, then a down, etc.). If your dog knows/is working on "come," you can also get at one end of your house, and have someone else get at the other end, and take turns calling your dog to you - make sure you have high-value treats with this one to encourage your dog to really charge back and forth from person to person. I suppose if she gets good at that you could work on a hide-and-seek version of the same, changing up your location each time and having your dog find you when you call her.

Of course, I bet it would be easier to answer this if you posted a few pictures of your dog...
posted by DingoMutt at 3:37 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Foolish me, I forgot. Someone also managed to get a shot of her in the Macy's window a few days before I adopted her.
posted by echolalia67 at 5:41 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

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