The days are getting colder and shorter as we head into the winter months. Our time is becoming more limited with the holiday season coming up and it gets harder and harder to find time to exercise our dogs as much as we did during the summer. Just like us, it is important for our dogs to stay fit and busy during this time of year. Don’t worry, there are some great things you can do to keep your dog busy, and your hands warm during the winter months ahead.
Playing games is one of the best activities you can do with your dog.
A great game you can play with your dog is hide-and-seek. When you are doing chores around the house, wait until your dog is doing something in a different room. This is when you can find a place to hide. Somewhere as simple as behind the laundry room door or on the other side of the bed will work just fine. When you are hidden, go ahead and call your dog’s name, you may have to call their name a couple of times if you have never played a game like this before. This game reinforces them to be with you and to come back to you. When your dog finds you reward them with lots of love, kisses and belly rubs to enforce that you are the ultimate reward for them coming back to you. After this you can continue with your chores, but feel free to play the game a couple of times while you’re working, not only is it fun for your dog, but it allows you to have a little fun too!
Incorporate your dog into your workout routine.
In the winter you may find yourself working out inside more, perhaps practicing yoga or doing workout videos. No matter what you are doing you can find a way to incorporate your dog into your workout. During your warm up run up and down the hallway with your dog, or play a good round of tug. When you are working out consider holding a pose a little longer while you give them a belly rub, or toss their toy across the room when you are switching exercises. Cooling down is the best time to add your dog into your workout, this is when you get to stretch out and just love all over your dog, play a little bit of tug, or toss the ball around while you go to deepen your stretch.
Schedule time in your day with your dog.
This may seem silly, but try scheduling some real one-on-one time with your dog every single day. Perhaps the best time may be shortly after you get home and settled in, once you have placed your bags down, changed or whatever you do, really sit down on the floor with your dog and just focus on them. Do whatever you like to do together, whether it be playing a round of fetch or getting a good petting session in. Spending this time not only helps them stay busy, but it allows you to decompress from the day also. Nothing can make a hard day better then some serious cuddle time with your dog.
During this time you will also strengthen the bond with your dog.
During this scheduled time you can also play a game called “100 things to do with a box.” This is a great interactive game that gets your dog thinking and can be quite entertaining also. In order to play the game your dog will need to be clicker trained. You will need a box, your clicker, some delicious treats, and your dog. Next, put the box on the floor and however your dog interacts with the box “click” and reward that behavior. For example, if they paw at the box, click when they are pawing the box, and then give them a treat. This is going to be their trick for the day. Every time they paw the box, you click, and reward. The next day bring out the box again but this time don’t reward them for the previous day’s trick. Instead wait for a different behavior, such as they nudge the box with their nose, click and reward. This is the new trick of the day.
Use interactive toys to entertain your dog.
Sometimes life gets busy and that one-on-one time can’t happen everyday. To keep your dog entertained there are some wonderful interactive dog toys that hide treats within them for your dog to find. There are some in which your dog uses their nose to shuffle the pieces back and forth in order to find the treat hidden under little doors. Others you fill with treats or kibble and they knock them around the room until the treats fall out. These are great options for dogs who like to play with toys and for those who are food motivated, but make sure to take the amount of food you put in the treat dispenser out of their normal meals so they don’t gain weight.
DISCLAIMER: DogExpress does not endorse or take responsibility for the content in the guest post.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!