It seems as if there are endless activities to do throughout the spring, summer and fall with our dogs. It's easy to go on walks around the neighborhood, enjoy a nice hike in a state park, play frisbee in a field, or go to the dog park. However, while these are activities that can still be enjoyed throughout the winter, it can be a lot harder in the cold.
Walks in the neighborhood can get salt and chemicals on your dog's paws causing pain and discomfort while walking. Many of the other activities can be a little too cold or uncomfortable for you or your dog depending on how tolerant they are to the cold. Our Mini Aussie can handle most temperatures with his thick coat, but when it dips under 15º, even his paws get a bit too chilly. When it comes to our two rescue dogs from Texas, they try their best to duke it out with the cold days, but we keep our frisbee sessions short.
So we will be discussing some ideas to keep your dog occupied while hanging out inside during the cold days of winter!
Tricks and Commands
Although our dogs love to learn new things all year, we think that it is crucial to focus in on training new skills in the dead of winter. Learning new tricks, skills, and commands will work your dogs mind, keep it from getting bored, and builds your relationship.
Most dogs know how to sit in front of you, but how about you work on sitting by your side, behind you, and under your legs? You can do this with so many commands and turn basic habits into fun tricks! Just like Ben is doing here in teaching Jonsi to back up between his legs. Fun trick that started from taking a couple of steps backwards to now being able to go all the way back through his legs. This will continue to be worked until there will be less and less hand guiding, and more speed. Just need to remember that we all start somewhere, and your dogs can learn almost anything you put the effort into!
Walking your dog is not the only way to keep your dog in good shape!
First and foremost, utilizing fitness tools for "instability training" is FUN. It is so cool to see them want to go play on the equipment, instead of just laying around. This training will work their mind, build core and limb strength, improve coordination, give them better joint health, and build confidence in working for you!
There are great products available for dogs of any age, size, and competency. Some awesome companies we get our canine fitness equipment from are TotoFit, Blue-9, and FitPaws.
Nosework is another awesome sport and fun activity to play with your dog, especially when it's hard to get outside. It will provide your dog with a lot of mental stimulation, allowing them to use their natural smelling instincts. The sport of nosework will have your dog locate scents like birch, anise, clove, and more. If you have any questions about nosework, just shoot us an email.
Food puzzles are an awesome addition to any home with a dog. Just like many of these activities, puzzles are a great workout for the brain, and they are SIMPLE!!! Very little training is needed to start doing puzzles with your dog. Many options have little slots that can be moved in ways to unlock the treats. Other puzzles are toys of any shape and size that can hold treats. Chuck and Dons or on Chewy.com have great selections of puzzles for your dog!