Turn Those Dog Winter Blues Around

Dec_2014_1When it’s cold outside, it’s time to help your pet to fight the winter blues. Help him avoid canine boredom and you’ll avoid the behavior that usually comes with it, including chewing, digging and barking. Keep your dog active and mentally stimulated instead with these tips.

Play indoor games

  • Hide and seek: Your dog may enjoy a game of hide-and-seek, as long as he’s always “it” and has to find you. This would be a good time to teach him to “stay” while you hide around the house, then call him to search for you. You can also play with a family member and take turns holding the dog while the other person hides.
  • Scavenger hunt: Play hide and seek with a favorite toy or treat instead. If your dog isn’t used to playing, start with simple hiding places in plain sight at first, then increase the difficulty. Here’s a video on how to teach your dog to search at home.
  • Fetch or catch: Depending on the size of your dog and your home, a game of indoor catch with a soft ball or toy can also be fun.

Train Fido to sit and stay

  • Now’s the time to start the dog training you’ve been meaning to do. Keep the sessions short and have a few soft treats handy to reward his good work. Before you know it, he’ll be responding to your commands and will be well trained for those summer romps in the dog park. See this video for tips.

Bring out the toys

  • Interactive toys: What’s play time without a few toys? Interactive dog toys like treat balls, games and puzzles will keep him entertained.
  • Toys suitable for your dog’s size: From stuffing-free plush toys to rubberized toys and chew toys, find the best options for your dog’s temperament and size. Also, rotate the toys into use, so he doesn’t tire of them as quickly.

While you’re keeping him active, remember to keep Fido safe from the cold as well! Place his dog bed away from doorways or drafts. In very cold temperatures, have him wear a sweater outdoors, especially if he has short hair or clipped fur.