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Dog on stairs

Uh-oh, you look outside and it’s raining cats and dogs. This can be a problem, especially if you and your furry companion are in the habit of getting out every day. If it’s only raining kittens and puppies, you could just brave the elements and outfit yourself and your dog in slickers and booties (they do make them for dogs, you know!). But when the weather is really frightful and you can’t do more than dash out for a quick poo-pee, you’ll want to be prepared for some fun indoor activities.

Here are a few of our suggestions …

The Original Stair Master

If you have a flight of stairs in your home that are safe to go up and down rapidly, you might consider doing a few laps with your dog. If your dog is typical, he will follow you both up and down if you call him to -- if for nothing else than to see what you are doing “up there” and “down there.” If your dog is reluctant, have some training treats on hand to give him when he reaches the top and bottom of the stairway.

If you are not up for running up and down the stairs, but your dog is the active type that really needs his daily exercise, you can try sitting at the top of the stairway and tossing a ball or toy to the bottom so he can run down to get it and bring it back to you. You may even want to consider switching it up and throwing the ball up the stairs for a bit.

Fetch the Halls

If you have a long hallway at your disposal, you can clear away any tables or other obstacles and turn the space into a dog run. And for the sake of your dog’s physical and mental health, forget what your mother used to say about throwing balls in the house.

A long hallway makes for an especially perfect space for playing fetch with a favorite ball or toy. It's even better if you have another person who can join in at the opposite end of the hallway for a rousing game of keep-away. There are truly few other ways to make your dog happy while helping him burn off calories at the same time.

Hide and Go Snack

If your dog needs more of an incentive, you can set up a trail of small treats for him to search out and devour. You will have to sequester him in a room while you hide the treats, of course, unless he is super well trained and is happy to sit obediently while you go around hiding the few snacks in strategic locations (floor level only, please).

Other variations on this game may include laying a trail of treats up and down the stairs, or hiding treats in a puzzle toy that releases the treats as the dog plays with the puzzle. Puzzle toys for dogs are a must on our list of toys, in fact, since they are stimulating for both the body and mind. Using his intelligence and sense of smell to search out each and every snack will be exhilarating for your pet -- and you'll have fun watching him do it.

Image: Jesse Newland / via Flickr

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