by Joanne Francisco

5 Rainy-day Workouts for Dogs

Dog owners face the same predicament we all face on rainy days, no matter the season. How can you work out during inclement weather?

Some breeds are quite averse to getting wet; even your pond-swimming Labrador may not like being rained on. However, a little creativity will get your dog moving indoors, even in a limited space. Here are five rainy-day workouts to keep your dog active:

- Hide treats or toys around the house; your dog will love locating them.

- Play hide-and-seek with your dog. This is a great game for bonding. We encourage it even when the sun is shining.

- Play "Cookie Come," a game in which two people position themselves on either side of the house and call the dog back and forth, rewarding him with a treat or favorite toy. This reinforces basic commands and gives your dog great exercise.

- Set up a retrieving game, but make sure you don't play on a slippery surface like tile or wood.

- Walk your dog up and down your stairs. Or teach him to walk on a treadmill. (It's possible and effective!)

Use Treats Wisely

When you use treats for any game, they should be healthy dog treats -- not people food. And make sure to use them in very small amounts. We like to use the smallest dog biscuits available and then break them up into even smaller bits. You don't want your dog to get sick or to gain weight. If your dog is motivated by balls or favorite toys, those are even better than treats.

Getting out in the Wet and Cold

If your dog is still a puppy, you can help him adjust to the rain. Get him out in all types of weather. Just because you don't like to go out doesn't mean your dog can't get accustomed to wet weather and even enjoy it. Some tips to get outside with your pal:

- Install an awning or a shelter beside your house so your dog can get used to being outside when it's raining.

- Invest in some rainwear for yourself but not your dog. Doggie raincoats are cute but not very practical.

- Award your dog with treats to get him to take his initial steps outside.

- If possible, find sheltered areas in which to walk.

- Make sure your dog's head stays under your umbrella. Most dogs don't like rain in their eyes because they have no way of shielding them.

Joanne Francisco and husband Craig own VIP Dog Training Inc., based in Long Island, N.Y. They have been training dogs since 1979 and specialize in problem-solving and basic obedience.



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