Between all the walks, hikes, and backyard play, keeping your dog active during the warmer months is a breeze. Fast forward to winter, with falling temperatures forcing us indoors more often.
For those so inclined, there are many ways to protect your pooch from the winter elements with the help of insulated pet clothing and paw-protecting boots. But many dogs prefer to keep their cold weather exposure to a minimum.
As fall becomes winter, activity levels usually decrease for dogs and humans alike. Keeping your dog occupied during winter is important, as a bored and frustrated dog may lead to unwanted behavioural problems. After all, he still has the same energy drive, but with less activity and stimulation.
With a variety of activities, challenges, and (low-calorie) goodies, there are several ways we can keep our dogs happily entertained all winter long. Here are our top 5 favourites:
Introduce new toys and rotate between them: Supplying your dog with a constant stream of new toys often isn’t financially feasible, so making your own toys can be a fun option. Cut an old T-shirt into three strips and make it into a braid. Tie if off at both ends. This is a great toy for friendly tug-of-war, but is also a great solo toy as your pup will love that it smells like their family. Just make sure none of the material is consumed. It’s a play toy, not a chew toy.
Hide treats: Think of it as a dog-treat scavenger hunt. Using your pet’s favourite treats, randomly hide small portions around an area of your home. Make the treats relatively easy to find to keep your dog’s interest piqued. Cheer him along as the excitement builds when he finds his treasures. This will satisfy his natural instinct to hunt, and will keep him busy for a while. Guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Stuff It!: There are many toys you can either fill or stuff with treats to keep your dog busy for hours. Kongs and Tricky Treat Balls are both popular options, among others. With a tricky treat ball, you fill the body with small treats and as it is rolled around the floor, it releases the treats a little at a time. A Kong on the other hand may be stuffed with everything from peanut butter, canned dog food, kibble, and even Cheez Whiz. Layer peanut butter and kibble, then freeze for an hour for added fun.
Work on perfecting tricks: What a great opportunity to strengthen the human-animal bond! Whether you’re brushing up on old training, or want to learn a new dog trick you saw on online, training indoors in a positive controlled environment is perfect way to spend quality time with your best friend.
Snuggle Time! Dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds can make for excellent snuggle buddies. Take some time to soak in their dogginess. Put your feet up on the sofa, or get down on the floor and initiate a snuggle-session with open arms. Great for reducing stress and improving mood. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Looking for more suggestions? Come visit the Pet Experts at Canadian Pet Connection, 278 Cook St (right beside the Meaford Factory Outlet).
Brandon Forder, also known as The Pet Expert, is Vice President of Canadian Pet Connection, a family-owned and -operated business located in Meaford. He has over twenty years’experience specializing in pet nutrition, behaviour, and lifestyle. Canadian Pet Connection is an industry leader, committed to providing their clients with the highest levels of personal, attentive service. Learn more at CanadianPetConnection.com.