Cold weather can present some challenges, but it doesn’t mean you have to put the brakes on your pet’s physical activity. If you’re trying to keep your pooch active in the winter, and you need to stay inside, here are some tips and tricks to take advantage of.
1. Short, high-energy games
If there’s enough room in your home, try games of fetch, or, you can even give a flirt pole a whirl. A flirt pole is a long pole with some type of rope attached to it, and a dog tug toy at the end.
Flirt poles are great because they allow you to control the toy’s movement — versus just playing with the toy. If used right, it can provide a challenging session of exercise for your dog. You can allow your pup to enjoy the thrill of chasing after a toy while being able to have spatial control.
2. Try a jacket or booties
If it isn’t too stressful for your dog to wear booties or a jacket, they may be able to tolerate the lower temperatures that way and get active outdoors. This option is best if you are looking to take your dog out for a walk around the block.
If you choose to put a jacket on your dog, it’s best to avoid putting them in social situations where other dogs are involved, like going to the dog park. Clothing that covers a dog’s hackles can cause communication problems between pups, so it’s best to do this only if you know your dog won’t be in the presence of other canines.
3. Indoor classes
If your dog doesn’t do well in the cold, you can opt to sign them up for indoor agility classes or a scent work class. This is in the same vein as training your dog at home, but if you are able to commute, and your dog doesn’t like chilly conditions, sign up for indoor training classes to keep them out of the cold.
This favourite human pastime can also be great for dogs. Hide-and-seek is a good workout for both your dog’s body and brain. Not only will they need to walk around the house — they’ll need to figure out where you are.
If you’re trying to teach your dog how to play hide-and-seek, begin by keeping the games short. Call out your dog’s name and hide somewhere easy for your pup to spot. As your dog gets the hang of how the game works, they’ll eventually use other means, like scent, to find you. Once they find you, celebrate! Reinforce their success with a belly rub, praise, treats, or a favourite toy.
Winter Pet Resources