By Toni Gibson, Training and Behavior Education Specialist
Let’s face it, it has been down-right cold for parts of this winter. My dog, Sadie, and I already can’t wait for springtime to hit, and February isn’t over! I often see Sadie all nuzzled in her bed dreaming—and I know she’s dreaming of the days when she and I can head back outside to toss sticks until her tongue hangs out of her mouth.
But for now, we’ve got winter and we need to make the best of it! It’s time to break up that boredom for Sadie and for all of our pets! Here a few things you can do that require very little effort, but break up that boredom!
- Trick training: Engage your dog by teaching him tricks! Grab your dog’s favorite treats, bring your dog in a quiet room, and reward them for doing cool things. Try teaching them shake, roll over, or spin. If your dog already knows those things, try training something more exciting, like walking backwards, bow, or “give me a hug”. It’s really great to put “speak!” and “Quiet!” on cue so that, when you need your dog to hush, you can ask for it. Also, you can let them know when it is a good time to bark.
- Have a treasure hunt: Take either your dog’s kibble or some treats and hide them in various places around the house. Then get excited with your dog and tell them to find all the treats or kibble! You might need to show them the first piece or two to get them started, but soon enough, they’ll be scrounging around looking for all the treats. This is also a great way to keep your dog mentally challenged as they eat.
Take your dog to the beach or lake: In the winter? Really? Yes! This is the perfect time for your dog to hang out in a place that they don’t normally get to go. Check with your local beach or lake to make sure they don’t have any specific rules that would prevent this. Being that it’s winter time, the normal floods of people will be missing. In the winter time, Sadie loves to run around in the sand and dig for all the treasures that people left behind in the summer!
- Make dog treats: There are tons of recipes of dog treats online. Do a search for a recipe that contains some good ingredients and bake up some treats! This can be a ton of fun with kids and fun cookie-cutter shapes. Oh, and of course, you’ll have a four-legged friend on the floor waiting for all those dropped ingredients!
There are plenty of things that you can do with your pet to beat the boredom. Be creative and soon enough, your pets will be just as exited for the winter as they are to sniff around outside and catch sticks in the summer! What are you planning for you and your pet?