Winter can be tough on our dogs - gone are the days spent frolicking in the sunshine-coated fields. Instead, pups will be lucky if they can convince their owners to trudge out to the dog park in the freezing temps.
While dogs still need plenty of exercise and walks to stay happy and healthy, regardless of the weather, there’s no denying that many owners tend to get a little lazy in the winter when it comes to keeping their dogs active.
We’re bringing you five ways to keep your dog occupied during the winter - no cabin fever here! With these techniques you can keep your dog mentally and physically healthy without freezing your own tail off.
- Treat-Dispensing Dog Camera
Dog cameras aren’t just handy for keeping an eye on Fido and making sure he’s not up to mischief - cameras with treat-dispensing capabilities let you play and entertain your pooch even while you’re at work or running errands, all from your smartphone.
With Furbo’s pet camera, you can call your furbaby over and ask him to “sit” or “lie down” for you. He may be confused at first about where your voice is coming from, but once he gets the hang of it, he’ll be eager to train with you in hopes of a reward.
When Fido gets it right, just hit a button on the Furbo and a treat will pop out for your dog to devour!
- Hide Goodies Around the House
Dogs love to work, but most don’t have many jobs to complete while you’re gone all day. If they could hold a pen, they’d be eager to do your taxes but alas - no thumbs!
One easy way to keep your dog engaged and challenged is to hide stuffed kongs and treat-dispensing toys around your home. In fact, some trainers suggest disbanding traditional dog bowls all together and instead feed your dog via puzzle toys.
Dogs love being challenged and being forced to work for their meals, so give your pooch what his brain craves and make him put some effort in for dinner! Just make sure to hide all chews, bones, and toys at ground level so your dog isn’t encouraged to peek up on counters or tables (that’s never a good habit to get into).
- Hire A Dog Walker
When winter comes a-calling, it’s understandable that owners aren’t as eager to venture out into snowstorms to walk their dogs.
However, you really shouldn’t short-change your pooch - he desperately needs his daily walks to be happy and healthy. If you know you’re not going to be up for that 30 minute walk after work, hire a dog walker to come during the day and take Fido for a nice long stroll.
Hiring a dog walker can relieve some of that exercise burden from your own shoulders. Wag and Rover are two of the most well known dog walking services. Rover is a bit more popular, and usually provides access to a wider selection of dog walkers.
With Rover, you’ll upload some info about your pup, put in what kind of dog care you need (in addition to walks, they offer the option to look for overnight sitters and play pals too), and browse through walker profiles. All Rover members have a profile and rating, so you can make sure that your fur baby is going in to good hands!
Rover walkers will even send you a photo of your pooch enjoying his walk, as well as a report of any potty action that took place.
If you can’t walk your dog as much as you’d like, dog walking services like Rover are the next best thing!
- Work On New Tricks
Since winter means more time indoors, this is also a great time to work on new tricks with your dog (or get back to the basics). Consider working on teaching your dog to sing or give a big smile!
Furbo is a powerful tool that can be used to reinforce tricks you’ve been working on with your pooch, or work on higher-level issues like separation anxiety, chewing, or barking.
The Furbo can be used to capture good dog behavior by throwing your pup a treat every so often throughout the day when they’re being well-behaved and generally not getting into trouble. Eventually your dog will learn that being a good boy and relaxing calmly means he get treats! This is a great way to re-enforce good behavior and raise a polite pooch.
Dog trainer Zak George demonstrates how to use the Furbo for training in his video, which you can check out here! It’s definitely worth a watch.
- Try Doggy Daycare
Not all dogs enjoy doggy daycare, but for especially sociable dogs, this can be a real highlight.
Doggy daycare isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t need to be an all-week commitment - even sending your dog in just one or two days a week can provide huge mental and social benefits for him.
Do you have any additional tips or tricks for keeping your dog occupied and engaged during the colder months? We’d love to hear your ideas too!
About The Author: Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine, a dog care site dedicated to helping you keep your dog happy and healthy! When she’s not cuddling with puppies, you can find her in a papasan chair with a good sci-fi fantasy novel.