Avoiding Winter Boredom

As the ground becomes covered in white and going outside feels more like walking into a freezer, it can become hard to keep up with Fido’s exercise needs.

Not only is it unpleasant for people to walk in icy and cold conditions, but it can also be very hard on your dog. Coats and boots for dogs can certainly help but dog clothes, and especially booties, are hard to keep on our active canine companions. Subsequently in the winter, dogs that used to enjoy an hour of running through the park, may now only withstand fifteen minutes of the snow and cold.

So how can you keep your canine actively entertained during the winter months? Well luckily, due to some ingenious dog lovers and trainers, there are a number of great options to exercise Fido without requiring the outdoors, or even a lot of space, and I’ve listed three of my favorites below.

Interactive feeding toys are a great way to feed your dog anytime of year but in the winter they can become a special asset to any dog owner. Using toys to feed your dog his regular meals will mean that Fido gets the same calories for twice the fun (if not more!). In fact, I’ve seen dogs that love feeding toys so much, that they will eventually ignore food in a bowl in preference to eating food out of toy. Having a few different feeding toys will ensure that you can continually engage Fido’s mind in new ways, feeding him and tiring him out all at the same time!

Fitness balls are another creative idea to exercise Fido like you never have before. If you have ever exercised on a Yoga ball before, you know how a simple looking exercise can actually require a lot of balance and muscle strength; the same theory applies to Fido. FitPAWS sells different shapes and sizes of balls to suit the special canine in your life. Teaching him to interact with the ball in different ways will keep him entertained and exercised all winter long! Not to mention that when spring comes you will have one talented Pup to show off to your friends. Almost all dogs can sit on cue, but few can sit while balancing on a fitness ball!

The “Find It Game” is one of my favorite games to watch my dog play and it’s something that the whole family can get involved in. It’s no secret that dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell, yet so few dog owners really take the time to marvel at their canine’s olfactory capabilities. To play the “Find It Game”, you first put Fido out of the room, somewhere where he can’t see what your are doing. Then you take soft, smelly treats and break them into tiny pieces. The entire family can then go to work, placing treats all around the room, on top of baseboards, beside the chair leg, under the coffee table. Once your treats are set, let your dog back in the room and tell him to “Find It!” If it’s Fido’s first time playing, be sure not too make the treat hiding spots to hard to find, you can even stand by the treats to help him out. As soon as Fido has found the first treat you can praise him and encourage him to find another one! Once Fido is used to playing this game, all you have to do is sit on the couch, tell him to “Find It!” and watch his amazing nose search down every last treat!

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