Winters can be long and dreary, with shortened days and freezing cold winds outside. It is important to keep your dog active during winter by making daily his routine interesting and introducing new activities.
Here are different ways you can turn dull winter days around for you and your pet:
Make your dog’s meals exciting by offering him food in a feeding toy rather than a food bowl. Research shows that dogs enjoy food more when they have to make an effort for it. In addition, this will prevent him from gastrointestinal issues that may be caused by eating too fast.
Try making your dog use his nose to find his dinner. Dogs have a very powerful sense of smell, which makes these exercises very stimulating for them. Make your pet actively search for his meal by creating an obstacle course that he would have to pass through, or use hide it in dog toys such as a Kong Wobbler or a Buster Ball.
Invent mini games to make giving treats more stimulating for your furry friend. Use a treat-dispensing toy or engage him in a game of hide-and-seek using dog treats.
You can keep your dog in one room while you hide his treats in the other. Then let him inside the other room to find his goodies. Make sure that you initially keep the treats in easily discoverable places so that your pet understands the game. Then proceed to make it more challenging by hiding them in more difficult areas.
You can buy puzzle toys and occupiers to make your pup work for his treats, such as tricky treat balls and interactive puzzles. Treats that involve flipping, pushing or rolling a toy will keep him entertained and mentally stimulated.
Fetch is a simple and common exercise for dogs which can be practiced indoors when the weather outside is not favorable. Take your dog’s favorite toy or a ball and throw it as far as you can, which will make you pet run after it.
You can practice commands such as “sit”, “drop” and “wait” once he brings back the toy. Playing fetch is fun for your dog and stimulates his cardiovascular activity. It also serves as a mental stimulant for him. Repeat the exercise until your pup is completely exercised and worn out.
Treadmills especially made for dogs are available in the market to make allow your pet to exercise indoors. If you can’t find one, then use a human treadmill but with adequate precautions.
Take some days to get your dog to familiarize himself with the machine. Keep the treadmill at a slow speed and stand in front of it with a treat in your hand.
Gradually keep increasing the speed every day as your pup learns to use it. Make your dog spends the same amount of time on the treadmill as the time you spend making him walk outdoors in summer.
If your house has a flight of stairs, toss a treat up or down the stairs in order to make your dog rush to get it. This is a great way to boost your pup’s energy level during dull and drab winters.
You can choose to participate in the game with your dog by running up and down the stairs with him. This provides an added bonus of increasing your physical activity as well. Alternatively, you can teach your dog to wait at the bottom of the stairs while you go upstairs.
Instruct him to “come” while gesturing in an excited manner so that they run up the stairs. Once he makes his way up, you may reward him with a treat to encourage him.
Call over a friend who owns a dog to come over. Dogs are social animals who love to play, chase and wrestle with each other.
Play dates are excellent for your dog’s physical exercise. If you are too occupied with work, you can send your pet to a doggie day care for a healthy social life. These interactions will keep your dog active during winter with an outlet to release their excess energy and minimize destructive behaviors such as chewing or poking around in the trash.
Dogs are responsive and intelligent animals who love to learn new things. You can teach your pooch tricks such as catching toys in his mouth, balancing treats on his nose or rolling over.
Other activities to improve his concentration level include teaching him to touch his nose to the back of your hand. You can later use these tricks to distract him, for instance, if he gets overexcited upon seeing another dog, you can redirect his attention through this command.
New activities are great for keeping your pup physically active and sharpening his focus. Teaching new things builds your dog’s stamina and leads to higher level of trust between you and him.
If weather permits, you can take your dogs outdoor for a walk. If you own a dog that can survive cold climates such as a Siberian husky, you can take him outside and spend 30-40 minutes playing in the snow with him.
As dogs love to chase, you can engage in a friendly snowball fight with him. Tossing a Frisbee for your dog to fetch is also a great way to keep your dog physically active. Frisbees are perfect toys for snow as they are unlikely to sink under a layer of snow if your dog fails to catch it.
Keeping your dog active during winter is essential for his physical and mental well being. Physical exercise and social interaction is essential in releasing your dog’s pent up energy. Your pooch is likely to feel happy and satisfied if you keep his routine energetic during winter months.
by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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