Keeping Your Labrador Entertained When The Weather Is Bad


In this article we are going to look at some great ways of keeping your Labrador entertained when the weather is bad.

Deep snow, or driving rain can make walking your dog a lot less fun.

And most of us tend to spend a bit more time indoors when the weather is bad.

So what can you do to keep your bouncy Labrador entertained?

When it’s just so miserable outside that walks are a rushed affair of necessity rather than a leisurely stroll?

Indoor Games With Your Dog

Our dogs are clever creatures, who often require quite a lot of interaction.

things-to-do-in-wet-weatherFBSo rather than leaving them to mope around when the weather is bad, why not keep the pair of you busy by playing some indoor games instead.

Traditional toys can prove a good distration for dogs.

Tugging rope toys are popular for playing with Labradors that aren’t going to be taken out into the shooting field.

If you have an open-plan or fairly large house, then a ball can be a nice distraction.

Either for a gentle game of fetch, or just to let your Labrador chase around by himself.

Of course, for those really rainy days when there is nothing else to do, you can always try setting up a game to play.

Find The Toy

If your dog has a favourite toy that they go mad for, then this will be an easy one for them to learn. And a great distraction for you both.

Here is a quote from our popular “4 games” page

Choose a toy your dog really loves.  Use the name of the toy a lot whilst your dog is holding and playing with it.  Now sit your dog or get someone to hold him and let him see you take the toy through and open doorway and place it on the floor in full view in another room.

Go back to your dog and tell him to find his ‘rope/ball/teddy’  in a happy, upbeat voice.

When your Labrador shows he is interested in the game, repeat moving the toy, each time putting it further away.

If your dog is into the game, you will soon progress to hiding the toy out of site, or in other rooms. Giving him plenty of opportunity to have fun seeking it out and bringing it back.

Check out 4 games to play with your dog for more ideas and information

Puzzle toys

There are quite a few toys you can buy now, that are specifically designed to help dogs use their brains and figure things out.

Some of the very best are toys from the Nina Ottoson range.

dog-brick-activity-toyNina is a Swedish Dog Trainer who invented a variety of ways to amuse her dogs when she became a parent.

One of the best and most popular is the Dog Brick Activity Toy – just click on the link to find out more about this interactive game

Most activity toys require a bit of input from a ‘grown up’.

But what about when you don’t have time to supervise or entertain your dog?

Kong Toys

We mention the humble kong quite a bit at The Labrador Site. There is a good reason for that – we love it!

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Kongs by themselves are fun for your dog to chase and kick around. They bounce fabulously which makes them a very tempting target.

A kong to chew will keep your dog happy for a while
A kong to chew will keep your dog happy and entertained.

They are also made of very tough rubber, so even the most dedicated chewers can spend literally hours working at one.

It will still be pretty much the same shape when they have finished with it.

But for rainy days when they need a distraction, filling a kong is an excellent go-to.

You can buy paste that sticks inside the kong, and your Labrador can work at that by licking out the contents.

But I favour filling it myself with peanut butter, then sticking it in the freezer for a couple of hours.

It’s much more time-consuming for the dog to then empty it out, and it keeps them happy for ages. Whatever the weather!

Learn Something New!

A great way to alleviate boredom is to learn something new.

When it’s cold outside, why not teach your dog a trick or two indoors. Just for fun.

A great way for you both to bond over learning a new skill, and to make sure the entire process is enjoyable, is to use a technique called ‘luring’.

Luring involves getting your dog to follow something with his nose (food or a toy), in order for him to reach your desired position.

It can be used to teach your dog to turn in a circle when you say ‘spin’ or ‘turn’, to teach him to ‘go to bed’ or to sit on a mat, and much more.

One of the great things about luring, is that it is so quick.

Even the busiest dog owner can find the time to work with it, and your dog will find the entire experience enjoyable.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

You can find step-by-step instructions for teaching your dog to turn here: Teach your dog to turn

What do you do to keep your Labrador busy?

When the wet weather arrives and the big outdoors is less inviting, how do you keep your lively Labrador Retriever mentally and physically stimulated?

Why not let us know in the comments section below!

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The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. My Labrador, Jackson, is 11 so older and wiser (and less “busy”) but he still enjoys practicing various “obedience” tasks for treats. Likes green beans, so no overfeeding issue with it either. Recently spent a little while learning to go to and stay in a new dog bed in a new location for instance. Doesn’t need a new toy or anything fancy to practice retrieving and enjoys doing it for short distances as well as longer ones. Will “get a toy” when asked (knows a number of specific toy requests also) and the only reward necessary there is the activity itself and praise. Virtually ANY interaction is more than welcome. Walks are still the best though, no matter the weather. If it is too severe for long walks we will do more frequent short one. Good for both of us.

  2. I have purchased many different types of dog toys Kong nylabone ect. It is so hard just to keep my Labrador occupy or busy with them she does not stay interested long at all please help need something she can play with by herself at times when inside ..

  3. Hey Pippa… thats a really nice n helpful article. I am having some problem with my lab that is similar to this but not exactly the same… The problem is growing serious.. it would be great if i could seek some help prsonaly by email or phone etc.. PLEASE HELP ASAP.. looking forward to ur kind help..

  4. I fill everday plastic objects with treats. She has a great time trying to get into the banana keeper. I also freeze small blocks of stock that keep her busy for a while and are also nice and soothing for her gums – she’s teething at the moment. Tug of war keeps her happy for hours and she is also partial to household brushes. She loves the cold and snow though so we still take our walks in the woods, where she is at her happiest. I taught her a new trick yesterday and because labs are so clever not only did it keep her entertained for a while, she picked it up in no time.

  5. Fortunately we have 2 Labs, brothers. They have a ball that has multiple holes so it is light and easy to throw inside. We have doorways between the family room, dining room and kitchen that can be accessed from more than one room. I sit in the recliner, throw the ball through the doorway separating the family room into the kitchen. Zeke chases it into the kitchen. Zeus will run from the family room into the dining room and wait for his brother to come through the doorway separating the kitchen and dining room. This is a daily ritual. They love their frisbee. Even when it is bitter I will throw it a couple of times when they go out to relieve themselves before bringing them in. It’s enough to satisfy them for a while. Sometimes they play together wrestling or chasing each other inside or outside. Outside we definitely monitor their length of stay depending on the weather. We also try to maintain natural bones for them to chew on and that also takes up some time. They still get some cabin fever but we at list minimize it. They are just like children!

  6. I take Cooper to doggy day care….yes, it is not cheap, but he gets to run around with other dogs, socializes, exercises and is a happy puppy going and a tired puppy coming home! Right now the temperature in my location (Massachusetts, USA) is ONE DEGREE FARENHEIT…..chill factor 22 below zero… care is a wonderful place for an energetic puppy that needs a lot of walking!