As the weather gets colder, you may be thinking about of the upcoming seasonal festivities. From holiday parties to staying in and enjoying a warm fire, there is much to do for you and your family; but what about your furry family member? While you can schedule dog walking services or pet sitting services when you are away from your pup, here are the top five winter activities you won’t want to miss out on enjoying with your dog.
1. Nose Work Activities
Want to stay inside and keep your pet engaged? Why not try some nosework activities to stimulate their innate use of smell? This will give your pet exercise without having to go outside in the freezing cold. Nosework activities are a fun and easy way to stay inside and still keep your dog active. Listed below are a few suggestions on nosework games to play.
Guess Which Hand
If you’re willing to stay and play, this is a great mini-game for you and your pet. Simply put a treat in your hand away from your dog’s view, then return to them with your hands balled up. Have your pet sniff out which hand has the treat and wait until they paw at it to be sure they’re choosing the correct hand. If they guess right, show them the treat and allow them to eat it. If they guess wrong simply show them your empty hand and encourage them to try again.
Hide and Go Sniff
This is just like the classic kid’s game Hide and Go Sneak. The difference is, your dog will be looking for the treats. Make sure you hide the treats in places that will challenge your pet. Hiding a treat in an easy location won’t challenge your dog and he/she won’t exercise their abilities. Hiding a treat in a location that’s a little more tricky will encourage them to look harder and will keep them preoccupied for a while.
Conceal the Meal
This game is like Hide and Go Sniff. A few differences to note: instead of a treat, you’ll be hiding your dog’s meal and instead of playing for a few minutes, this game will take place for days (or as long as you have your pet!). At first, your dog may be confused about where their food is when they see it isn’t in the regular spot. But, after a few days of finding the bowl in different locations, your dog will get the hang of it.
2. Indoor Dog Park
If you want to stay indoors, but don’t want to keep your pet cooped up in the house, consider letting your pet play at a local indoor dog park. This is a great way to get out of the house and keep your dog active, without having to be out in the cold.
There are some very modern indoor dog parks with state-of-the-art amenities for them to enjoy
Some of these include:
- Puppy training
- Obedience training
- Exercise programs
- Dog & owner joint fitness programs
- Doggie spa amenities
Many of these facilities are set up much like a playground where your dog can find other dogs to play with and or they can run around freely on their own to explore what these dog parks have to offer.
How about a traditional winter activity? You and your pet are sure to have a great time sledding. All you need is a toboggan and a fresh blanket of snow. This is a great way to stay active during the winter, especially if your dog is a snow lover. Find a big hill, so you and your pet can walk or run and get your exercise. Once you’re at the top, hop on your sled while hold your dog in the center and slide down. Your pup is certain to love this joint winter activity with you.
If you and your dog love going outside in the snow, the two of you will love skijoring. What is skijoring? Commonly done with horses, skijoring involves skiing with a tied animal, pulling the skier by running in front. In your case, the animal would be your dog! Think of it like traditional sled dog races but with your pet. This is a fun way to keep active during the cold winter season. A traditional skijoring set comes with a harness for your dog and a hip belt for the human rider, who should be wearing their traditional ski equipment, including skis, poles and warm, comfortable winter wear like a thick coat and pants.
The best time to go is after a snowfall with about four or more inches of snow. You can purchase a skijoring set online or at your nearby sports store.
5. Go for a Winter Walk
For those of you that still enjoy the traditional walk in the neighborhood no matter what the weather, you can take your dog out for a walk. Even during cold weather, your dog should get their exercise in regularly and, as you probably already know, going on consistent walks is one of the best ways to get this done. Professional dog walking services are a great way to help your dog stay in shape during the winter.
Hiring Professional Dog Walking Services
If at any time you’re not feeling up to going out in the cold, you can always hire dog walking services to walk your dog until you’re ready to brave the winter with your pet. This way, your dog still gets their exercise no matter how you’re feeling about the season.
If you don’t have all the time you would like to enjoy winter time fun with your dog or need to catch a break from walking or watching your dog, let Local Paw Pals do it for you! We offer pet sitting and dog walking services all year long. Get started online or call us at (703) 345-1695.