Keeping Your Dog Happy in the Winter Months

Keeping Your Dog Happy in the Winter Months

What a winter we have had so far….before it even began, we had snow.  Then when we are officially in winter, it is warm and wet!  This weekend we have had over 4 inches of rain!  So even if though it isn’t snow, all that wet presents other issues for boredom and depression in your pet, not to mention extra weight gain because of lack of exercise!

A bored dog can be a destructive dog, especially when your dog may be used to daily playtime, long walks, or just a few hours of yard time.  With all this rain, even 10 minutes of yard time, can mean a filthy wet dog!  My Border Collie is especially prone to this destructive behavior.  He has chewed my leather boot, many pairs of blue jeans, tennis shoes, blankets and belts.  He prefers leather, but the clothing and blankets will do if nothing else is available to him.

So what can you do?  We have to get creative.  

Indoor play is very good, but may not be enough.  As you can see from this photo of my living room, toys are plentiful, yet Wranger looks sad!

We keep various types of toys to help stimulate him.  His problem is he won’t play alone.  So we have short pllay times multiple times each day.  Now I know not everyone can do that, and some days we can’t either, but a 5 minute playtime before you head to work can help.

Hide and seek games can give variety to your playtime.  You can put a ball under a clothes basket.  Wrangler loves this challenge, but we can’t do this too often because he remembers too quickly how to get the ball out and doesn’t work long enough to get it out.  Dogs that are food motivated can get a lot of exercise hunting for treats around the house.

A trip to town to walk around some stores is another great option now and then.  Lowe’s and Tractor Supply are both very pet friendly and are a good choice if you don’t want to have the temptation of the pet stores to purchase more toys and treats!

There are also treat toys that can make for great exercise.  My daughter’s basset hound loves a treat toy.  I can get 15-30 minutes of supervised playtime with this toy.  The reason I say supervised is that towards the end when she has most of the treats out, she will get frustrated and try to bite the toy open for the rest!  So at this point the toy must be put up, or I can simply tell her no, move the toy and she will stop biting it and start working at it again.  If I simply give her the toy and leave, there would be nothing left of it.


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