Keeping a Dog Busy on Rainy Days

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keeping dog busy rainy days
Photo by спиридон варфаламеев on Pexel

Rainy days can be quite a challenge for dog owners, particularly those who have active breeds such as border collies and Labrador retrievers, that require regular outdoor exercise. When the weather isn't cooperating, it can leave dogs feeling restless and their owners wondering how to keep them entertained indoors. However, this seemingly unfortunate circumstance can be turned into an opportunity for bonding, training and even fun for your dog.


Here are some tried and true strategies on how to keep your dog busy on those rainy days when a trip to the park just isn't an option.

Mental Stimulation

Just like humans, dogs need mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Engaging your dog's mind can burn as much energy as physical activities. Below are some ways to stimulate your dog mentally on a rainy day.

Puzzle Toys and Interactive Games

puzzle toy

These are fantastic tools to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Examples include Kong toys that can be filled with food or treats, treat-dispensing puzzle toys or interactive toys that require your dog to solve a puzzle to get a reward. The best toys for larger breeds like Huskies are toys made of tougher materials that can handle more aggressive chewing.

Using these toys can turn treat time into a fun and mentally challenging game.

Training Sessions

A rainy day provides an excellent opportunity for a training refresher or teaching your dog a new trick. Short, frequent sessions throughout the day using positive reinforcement can keep your dog's mind engaged. Remember to be patient, reward their successes and make the experience enjoyable for your pet.

Hide and Seek

This game can entertain your dog and reinforce their training. Hide treats around the house and encourage your dog to find them. You can also hide yourself, call your dog and reward them when they find you.

New Toys or Rotating Existing Ones

Introducing new toys can pique your dog's interest and keep them occupied. If you have a stash of toys, rotate them every few days to keep them feeling fresh and exciting.

Physical Exercise

Physical activity is vital for a dog's health, aiding in digestion, sleep regulation and maintaining a healthy weight. It's also crucial for mental stimulation, as physical exhaustion often leads to a content and calm dog.

When the weather is rainy and going outside isn't an option, there are several effective methods to ensure your dog gets the exercise they need indoors.

Indoor Fetch

indoor fetch toy

A classic game of fetch doesn't always require a vast open space like a park or backyard. If your home has a long hallway or a sizable open area, this could work just as well. Soft, lightweight toys are perfect for indoor fetch, as they minimize the risk of breaking items in your home.

You can throw the toy down the hallway or across the room, and your dog can still enjoy the thrill of the chase without a wide-open space. Always ensure the playing area is safe and free from obstacles that might cause your dog to slip or hurt themselves.


dog tug-of-war

This game can provide a significant amount of physical exercise. Using a strong rope toy, you can engage in a spirited game of tug-of-war with your dog. This game also helps to strengthen your bond as you play together. However, remember to play safely and avoid aggressive pulling, which can harm your dog's teeth. Also, letting your dog win occasionally will keep them motivated and interested in the game.

Indoor Agility Course

An agility course can offer both physical exercise and mental stimulation for your dog. You can create a simple agility course in your home using furniture, pillows, boxes, you can even purchase an indoor agility set online.

Teach your dog to jump over some objects, weave through others and tunnel through small spaces. Start slow and use lots of positive reinforcement, gradually increasing the complexity as your dog gets the hang of the game. It's an interactive, fun experience that can improve your dog's obedience, flexibility and overall physical fitness.

Treadmill Training

pet safe treadmill

If you have a pet-safe treadmill, it can be an excellent tool for getting your dog moving when outdoor walks aren't feasible. Start slowly and gradually increase the speed to match your dog's comfort level. Never leave your dog unsupervised on a treadmill and always provide plenty of water.

By implementing these strategies, you can ensure your dog remains active, fit and engaged even when stuck indoors. Always remember to cool down after exercises and provide fresh water to keep your pet hydrated.

Additional Options


Socialization doesn't always need to occur outdoors. Use this time to work on your dog's indoor manners.

  • Play Dates: If your dog gets along well with other dogs, consider arranging an indoor play date with a friend or neighbor's dog. This is a great way for dogs to socialize and burn off energy.
  • Window Watching: Allow your dog to watch the world go by through watching out the window. This can entertain them for hours, but be mindful if your dog is prone to barking at anyone passing by.


Teach your dog that rainy days are for relaxation.

  • Cuddle Time: Spend some time snuggling with your dog. This can be comforting for your dog and is a great time to bond.
  • Massage: Just like humans, dogs enjoy a gentle massage. It can help them relax and also provides an opportunity to check for any skin abnormalities or changes in your dog's body.

Final Thoughts

With a little creativity, you can turn a rainy day into a fun, productive experience for your dog. Mixing up activities will keep your dog engaged and prevent them from becoming bored or anxious.

Remember to pay attention to your dog's body language to ensure they're enjoying the activities. What matters most is that your dog feels loved and cared for, rain or shine. Rainy days may confine you indoors, but they don't need to confine the fun and excitement that you and your furry friend can experience.

About the Author

keeping dog busy rainy days

Kate T

Kate is a mother and fitness enthusiast residing in a sleepy beach side town in the Philippines, which gets hit by typhoons a quarter of the year. She regularly has to find creative ways to keep her boy and 2 dogs entertained.[...] Author Details

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