Winter Dog Play
We humans are not the only ones to get a layer of insulation during the colder months. The problem is, it’s cold outside! Who wants to have to bundle up like the Michelin Man just to go out for an hour? There’s a reason why more babies are born nine months from now. Most of us get lazy in the winter and as much as we love our dogs and want them to be healthy and happy, snuggling on the couch sounds a heck of a lot more inviting. Exercise, however, is essential to a dog’s physical and mental wellness. It’s also relationship builder between you and your friend. Not to mention, keeping your pup active in winter avoids a summer of dieting. Here are some tips to make playtime part of your New Year’s resolutions.
- Use your stairs. Toss a ball or his favorite toy down and watch them chase and fetch- over and over; or run with him and let him chase you! You’ll both get a great workout.
- Save those holiday boxes and set up an obstacle course in your house. Cut “tunnels” for them to scoot through; use the small ones for them to jump over.
- Laser pointers are annoying to everyone but dogs and cats. For some reason you can entertain a pet (and yourself) for hours by making them chase the pinpoint of red. Be mindful that you don’t create an obsession. It’s a fine line between playful and crazy. Also be careful not to shine the light in his eyes as it could cause damage.
- Hide and have him seek. Set treats or toys around the house for your dog to find. She’ll get both mental and physical stimulation. Plus, it’s the beginning steps for scent work.
- Take your dog on the road. It’s not hot or illegal to have your pet in the car now. If you’re worried about them getting cold while you’re away put them in a sweater or stash something like the Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed in the back. You don’t need to plug anything in. The cushy bed has a special lining that uses the same technology in Mylar “space blankets” to reflect a pet’s body heat. The slight crunching sound may make your dog nervous at first but the faux lamb’s wool fleece really works to create a warm, soft nest your dog will love. The non-skid bottom will keep him from sliding around as you drive. It’s completely machine washable if they get it muddy getting in and out of the car.
- Socialize indoors. Stores like Petco and Home Depot allow you to bring your pets inside. Meeting new people and animals ups the energy level.
- Teach them tricks. They can learn to shut doors, pick up toys, find your remote control. Go to YouTube and search “dog tricks” for inspiration.[youtube=http://youtu.be/Hppr6cKMiwA]
- Uh oh, here it comes- go snowshoeing or skiing with your dog. You’ll want to slap some booties on his paws like the Ultra Paws Snow and Go boots if you plan to be out long. Ice and snow can cause frost bite and cut pads. If you see your pooch picking up her paws like she’s doing a dance that’s a sign to head in.
- Start obedience or specialty training. Weekly classes give you an excuse to get your dog out of the house and mingling. It also keeps them stimulated and out of your trash.
- Speaking of which, it’s probably a good idea to crate your pet if you’re going to be gone all day skiing. Bored dogs can do a lot of damage. Or simply tune into DogTV online or through DirecTV Satellite to keep them entertained.