Yes, it’s starting to get cold outside, and the number of daylight hours is short, but your dog does not hibernate, and it’s important that your dog gets daily exercise. Vital for a dog’s physical and mental wellness, exercise is also a crucial part of the relationship between pack leader (you) and dog.
Here are a few tips that you can do with your pooch.
Hide-and-seek is a wonderful way to get your dog up and moving and mentally engaged. You can hide a treat or her favorite toy, but it’s better to make her come find you. Start by throwing a treat to get her to go away from you, and then hide in another part of the house. This game can really tire your pup out as she rushes around searching, and it’s good for reinforcing the come command.
2. Challenge your dog’s nose.
Dogs have incredibly powerful scenting abilities, so exercises that require your pal to use her nose are especially stimulating. Make her work for her dinner by creating an obstacle course she has to get through to find her food. Hide her meal in a box, or, better yet, put it in a Kong or a treat ball.
Sign up for an agility class. Flyball provides good exercise, and a class comes with the added benefits of allowing your dog to socialise and boosting her mental agility by learning something new.
4. Practice targeting.
Being indoors gives you a great opportunity to practice targeting with your dog. Teach her to touch her nose to the back of your hand on command; this will make her focus on a target. It’s a great exercise because it gives you an activity you can do together. And once your pooch has learned how to do this, you can use it whenever you want her to stop what she’s doing and focus. For example, if you’re out walking and she becomes excited when she sees another dog, you can use targeting to redirect her attention. Plus, your dog can’t bark when she’s touching her nose to your hand!
5. Don’t be a wimp, get outdoors!
Most dogs love being outdoors and it doesn’t matter to them if it’s a little cold. Take them for their usual walk and make sure they have plenty of water. Just because it’s a cold day, doesn’t mean they don’t need the same amount of water.