Ways to Keep Your Dog Active in Colder Weather

We all know the dog days of winter are upon us.  It’s dark and cold when we are getting ready for work and already dark when we get home.  Our dogs would really like to get back outside to burn off some of their energy, but we can’t do it in the dark.  Here are some great options to keep your dog active during these colder months…

1. Make Mealtime Stimulating

There are many ways to stimulate his mind and body without venturing into the winter weather.  Offer his meals in a feeding toy rather than just a food bowl.  This is an activity that your dog will love, and she’ll get rid of excess energy while she enjoys herself.  Studies have shown that dogs enjoy their food more when they have to work for it.  This will also slow down how fast he eats which can help prevent serious gastrointestinal conditions.

2. Practice New Dog Tricks Indoors

There are countless tricks and training lessons you can do from the comfort of your own home. Start with a simple dog trick like “stay” or “shake,” and work up to something more complicated like “roll over.” These tricks will result in good behavior and help you and your dog bond. Do try to keep the dog training/trick sessions to about 15 minutes or so. This will ensure it stays fun for everyone.

3. Play Hide-and-Seek

A fun and effective way to help your dog get some good exercise during a cold winter’s day is to play a game of hide-and-seek with her. Toss her a treat in one direction and while she runs after it, move to another part of the home and hide. Then, call out to her and wait for her to find you. She eventually will, but she’ll burn off a lot of excess energy along the way.

4. Nice Walk Outdoors

Most dogs will enjoy a stroll on a brisk day. However, keep in mind that sidewalks treated with salt or chemicals to prevent ice can be harmful to your dog. Use booties or specially made wax to protect his paws and rinse them off once you come inside to prevent irritation and keep him from ingesting any reside that might be left. Also if your dog has short hair, consider having him wear a coat.

5. Have Them Use Their Nose

Still have some left over boxes from the holidays?  Put them to good use.  You can start by hiding some of their food in a box with the lid open.  Hold them by the collar, and tell them to “search.”  Reward them again when they found it.  Once they understand, then you can make the game more challenging by adding more boxes, and closing the lids on the boxes.  It’s similar to playing the shell game.  Try to avoid helping them by pointing to the box with the food.  Be sure to always keep the food box separate from the other clean ones. You’ll just be moving the food box around.

6. Play Outside

Just because there is some snow on the ground does not mean you can’t go outside.  Most dogs enjoy catching snow balls and romping in the snow.  Be careful that your dog stays safe, hidden ice can cause injuries.

For information on how to train your dog, contact us at Sit, Stay, ’N Play.  We are located at 1501 North 5th Street in Stroudsburg.  570.872.9748 or online at www.sitstaynplay.net   Did we mention that a trained dog is a happy dog?