During wintertime, it is not always easy coming up with activities to keep your dog happy and active. Temperatures drop below freezing, you have to deal with rain, snow, and sleet as well as concerns about the chemicals used on the sidewalks to melt the snow hurting your furry friend’s paws. Keep reading for some tips on entertaining your dog and helping them release some energy during the winter.
Practice or Teach your Dog Some New Tricks
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? For dogs or puppies that don’t know a lot of commands, you can practice very useful ones, such as “sit”, “stay” or “come.” Once you have the basics down, you can move on to more advanced commands, such as “roll over” “speak” or “play dead.”
Although these tricks are not very demanding physically, they require a lot of mental energy from your dog so they are a great winter activity that can be practiced indoors. Remember to limit your training sessions to about 15 minutes so that it stays fun for you and your dog. Practice these tricks daily and your dog will be fully trained by spring time!
Schedule Playtime with Other Dogs
If your dog is good with other dogs, it’s always good to put a playdate in the calendar. Just as with kids most dogs like to socialize and will even correct each other while playing, making it easier for you to supervise. If playing indoors, make sure that they have enough space to play safely. If outdoors, make sure it is not too cold and that they have an appropriate place outside where they can run and play, such as a fenced in yard or park. Bring some toys and let the fun begin! Remember, all dogs play differently so be sure to use your best judgment for your pet.
Take Your Dog for a Walk
Unless the temperatures drop below zero, it’s okay to take your dog outside for short periods of time. Most medium and large dogs can walk outside for about 30 minutes as long as the temperature is above 20 degrees F and they are in good health. If your dog is on the smaller side, limit their outdoor exposure to 20 minutes and consider buying them a coat and protection for their paws. For pups who don’t like wearing little booties, try a dog-safe gel that can be applied to paws to help prevent cracks and bleeding. Hurtta has an amazing collection of coats for dogs for all types of weather!
Sign Your Dog Up for a Class
Winter is the perfect time for an indoor agility or swimming class. There are plenty of classes for dogs who have never swum before as well as advanced swimmers. Just as with humans, swimming is easy on their joints, so it is perfect for senior dogs or those with arthritis.
A new class such as agility will also provide a mental and physical stimulation for your dog, making it the perfect activity for dogs with plenty of energy! There are many great resources in the Boston area, but a quick online search for your area will yield other options for swim classes, doggy daycare, agility classes, and more.
- The Red Dog Pet Resort: Swimming classes for all dogs in Saugus and Boston.
- Doggie Fun and Fitness: Classes, daycare, and training.
- K9 Top Performance: Training, camp, boarding, and daycare.
- Boston for the Dogs: Walking, hiking, training, and play groups.
- Click here for more paw-some resources.
Make Mealtime Fun
There are so many ways to make mealtime fun for your dog. You can grab a treat dispenser or a food puzzle that your dog has to solve in order to get his reward. Make sure you purchase high-quality toys that your dog cannot tear apart — you want to keep them safe and entertained when they’re home alone. And remember, all dogs have different chew strength and habits, so always buy the size and durability appropriate for your dog.
Kongs are very popular and have proven themselves with dogs of all sizes! As an added bonus, food toys and puzzles slow down your dog’s eating pace, keeping him or her safe from gastrointestinal conditions.
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We know the weather can make it tough, but keeping your dogs happy and active in the winter is very important. Do you have any winter activities that you like to do with your dog? Let us know in the comments!