By nature dogs love to walk and run and play without boundaries of limits. This is why spring, summer and fall can be a pup’s favorite time of year. They get to see new things, hear new sounds and get out all of their seemingly endless energy. But come winter, they are confined inside for most of the day, taken outside only for quick walks and going to the bathroom.
Although the snow and cold makes it difficult for dogs to spend a lot of time walking, running and playing outdoors, it is possible for them to get just as much exercise indoors. For example, winter is the perfect time to explore and teach new games like tug and fetch. Tugging at a rope can expel a lot of energy as well as teach the dog discipline. Fetching in the house lets the dog run around and chase the ball like they would outdoors.
Some dogs really have a passion for digging and scavenging; these activities don’t have to stop when the snow falls. Instead of giving your dog a treat for sitting or rolling over, hide their treat inside a hollow toy. They will have to chew, scratch and dig at the toy to release the treat. This encourages patience and also teaches a pup to work for his or her treats.
If during the warmer months you take your dog to the dog park, during the winter they could really miss those furry interactions. Set up doggy play dates throughout the winter with friends that also have pet friendly dogs. The dogs can chase each other, play with toys and just interact in general in a positive, energetic way. This is good for your dog’s interaction skills as well as its behavioral skills. Remember to introduce the dogs calmly and in a big space at first to ensure a good, productive doggy date.
What do dogs and children have in common? They both have a lot of energy and love attention. When you’re all cooped up together in the snow, encourage your children to spend time with your dogs. Have them play catch or tug of war, or even create a new type of game to play. The two friends can spend hours playing and at the same time using up energy.
All of these strategies and activities can help keep your doing healthy and happy throughout the long winter months. Without running, jumping and playing dogs can become depressed and even anxious when energy builds up and can’t be released. Just remember that just because your dog is stuck indoors doesn’t mean he or she can’t get the exercise they need.