Dogs make great companions for outdoor activities. You can go to the dog park, take them out for walks, or simply throw a ball around for a while.
When wintertime rolls around, however, it can be hard to think of things to do if you’re snowed in or it’s freezing outside. Here are three easy activities to keep your dog fit and healthy during the winter.
- Scent training
- Homemade Obstacle Course
- Cognitive training
These surprising activities are actually a lot more tiring than you might think, and you’ll have a blast running around with your dog. The rest of this article will walk you through how each one works so that you can have some ways to keep your dog fit in the winter.
As odd as it may seem, working your dog’s nose is a great way to tire them out. It’s one of the reasons why walks are so great for dogs. It allows them to not only work their body, but there are also so many amazing smells out there.
To replicate this activity, you can hide some treats around your home in various locations your dog can reach.
Despite the lack of physical activity, nose work requires a lot of thinking and tracking the scent of treats necessitates focus. Working your dog’s nose is a great way to add variety to your winter exercise routine.
Homemade Obstacle Course
This one’s great if you love to watch your dog figure things out. Evaluate your living space and consider how you can use cushions, chairs, and other items to make a fun obstacle course for your dog.
You can guide him through with treats the first few times and then try a run-through without. One fun option is to get a broomstick and place it across two table chairs for your dog to leap over as he makes his way through the obstacle course.
You can also encourage an obstacle course run by having two people stand at opposite ends of the house with treats and calling the dog back and forth several times.
Similarly to the nose training, working a dog’s brain is yet another great way to tire them out. The more a dog has to think, the more effort it takes to work a problem out.
Mental stimulation is also great for your dog’s long-term health as well! Sniff mats or lick mats that offer tempting smells or treats offer great stimulation for your dog.
There are also great puzzle boxes that can keep your dog entertained for a while. For example, a puzzle box typically has several different ways to access treats including opening the flap of the box, sliding the box along a track, or lifting the box out entirely to access treats.
You can even make your own DIY puzzle boxes for your dog to enjoy if you like putting their intelligence to the test. This kind of stimulation helps keep your dog’s mind active, reduces boredom, and improves your bond with your canine friend.
When winter rolls around, it can be demoralizing to think of ways to entertain a rowdy dog when it’s snowed up or freezing cold outside, but as it turns out, working your dogs nose, brain, and problem-solving skills are a great way to keep him entertained and happy.
You can incorporate puzzle boxes, lick mats, sniff mats, and other games to give your dog some variety in their routine and present them with a new challenge for them conquer.