It’s cold, days are shorter and its snowing! Winter must be here doggone it. Who wants to go out in those conditions? We may not want to, but your dog(s) do because they donʼt hibernate. While we modify our (human) workouts for winter conditions, we also need to modify theirs. We donʼt stop our workouts (well you shouldnʼt) and just because its winter, neither should theirs.
Unfortunately, during the winter months there are days where it is dangerous for you and your pup to be outside. However, there are activities that will keep your dog active, healthy and well behaved!
Earlier this year the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) released their latest study showing that 52% of dogs are obese. While this number is staggering, it can only be changed by us fur-parents by implementing changes in both our lives.
The negative affects obesity has on their health is very similar to ours; it causes diabetes, hypertension, joint problems and many cancers. Along with health issues, behavior problems can become an issue as well. Keeping a healthy diet and not filling their bellies full of treats is something that needs to happen year round, along with physical and psychological activities.
As a trainer I believe that mental and physical exercise is necessary for a healthy balanced dog.
Below is a list of possible activities that cover both of these:
– Treadmill time (not just for the humans anymore)
– Recall (come/here) drills with their favorite toy as a reward
– Basic obedience drills
– Doga (yoga for doggies and you too)
– Hide-n-seek/scent work
– Schedule an indoor play date
– Start training classes
– Healthy game of tug and fetch
– And on those days its not so bad out, suck it up and get out there. Play in the snow is a great activity for your dog. (just make sure to take safety precautions for their paws; ie Mushers).
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Many of these are mental exercises as well, which can be very exhaustive for your dog, so do not feel you need to interact in these activities for hours. Depending on the breed, you can enjoy these activities for 15- 30 minutes a few times a day. No more excuses, change begins with you!!!! A healthy dog is a happy dog so keep up the activities and good diet.