Winter Boredom Busters!
Winter is here, and most of our furry friends are starting to notice the decline in their fun outdoor activities. Cold rain and heavy snows are enough to keep most pups and their owners confined to their homes for longer than usual. This can be hard on many of our pets, especially young active dogs, and high energy breeds. Dogs can suffer from boredom, just like people, and have different ways of showing it. You may have noticed your pet being more destructive than usual, begging for attention, or sulking quietly on their beds more often than normal. Here are some simple suggestions to keep your dog’s body and mind active during the cold winter months ahead!
1. Enrichment Training Sessions
Booking weekly sessions with a certified trainer can help give you and your pup new mental and physical enrichment ideas throughout the cold months. WagMore Dog Training LLC offers training sessions specifically focused on enrichment activities such as scent work, agility, rally, and fun boredom buster games!
2. Fun Outings!
While the dog park or hiking trails may be out of the picture on cold, frigid days, there are quite a few pet-friendly stores that can provide a fun outing for your pup! Most pet stores are happy to have canine visitors, and some even keep yummy treats by the cash register to give pups on their way out. Other pet friendly stores include hardware stores, outdoor recreational stores, and some retail stores. If you’re planning on a fun outing with your pet, it’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure you’ll both be welcome. Don’t forget to bring treats with you to reward your pup’s good behavior and practice their skills around distractions!
3. Interactive Puzzles & Toys
Perfect for rainy days or snowstorms, interactive puzzles and toys can keep your pup busy and stimulate their mind. Most of these puzzles and toys involve you hiding treats inside, and then having your dog work to figure out how to get them out. There are many different levels of difficulty where your dog may need to spin, flip, turn, or twist different knobs and flaps to reveal the treats. The trainers at WagMore Dog Training LLC recommend toys and puzzles by the brands Kong, StarMark, OurPets, Outward Hound, and Nina Ottosson. You can also make your own using cups to hide treats under, tissue boxes to be opened, and cones to flip over. The pawsibilities are endless!
4. Hide & Seek
It may sound silly, but most dogs LOVE this game! Hide and Seek incorporates training, brain activity, and movement to give your dog a fun and exciting game to play with you. Have your dog sit and stay while you run and hide somewhere in the house. Use your release word (okay, come, here, etc) and reward your dog with praise and/or treats when they find you. You can play over and over increasing the difficulty of your hiding spots over time. If your dog doesn’t know how to “stay” yet, consult with a certified trainer in your area for help!
5. Snowy Hikes!
While the snow may not be for all dogs, there are some who love to romp and play in a fresh snowfall. For those who enjoys the snow, a walk or hike can leave them well exercised and tired for the rest of the day. If your dog has short hair, you should consider dressing him in a warm coat or jacket to keep him from getting too cold. If you live in heavily populated areas where neighbors use ice-melting salts, teach your dog to wear booties to protect their delicate paw pads.