By Terri Heck BS CVT
Winter is here – perhaps the season most difficult to find activities to entertain our dogs. Walks are still fine but may be limited some by cold weather and slippery conditions. The following is a list of physical and mental tasks geared to the canine. Many of these activities can be enjoyed inside and out. Some may be the right ones for your dog and you. Let breed, structure, age, ability, and safety be your guide – ask your veterinarian for advice.
1. Take a class: Many classes are available for dogs of all sizes, breeds and energy levels. Some examples: Basic and advanced obedience, Rally obedience, Manners, Nosework/Scent, varied dog sports etc.
2. Dog sports: Agility, Lure coursing, Earth dog, Barn hunt, Tracking, Freestyle (dance) etc.
3. New tricks: Picking up your toys and putting them in your toy box (basket or whatever), Targeting (learning vocabulary and indicating on various objects – ball, stuffie, bed etc.) – use your imagination.
4. Massage: Gentle massage in the direction that the hair grows can be very relaxing to dogs.
5. Bubbles: Flavored ones made for dogs – fun to catch, pounce on etc.
6. Interactive toys: Puzzles, treat dispensers etc.
7. Toy on a rope: being pulled by you – prey drive fun!
8. Rotate toys: or have featured toy of the day.
9. Scent work at home: find the hidden toy, treat or person.
10. Scavenger hunt: above all over the house
11. Walks: Vary the venue (neighborhoods, shopping centers, parks and woods).
12. Digging box: buried toys in untreated pine chips (non-dusty) outside or shredded paper inside.
Looking for more activities you can do with your dog? Check out part two of our Fun Winter Activities suggestions.