Have you found some creative ways to survive your dog during the cold winter months while stuck indoors? Here are some of our tips:
1. Food Puzzles: Meals are served in food puzzle toys such as the Kibble Nibble, or Kong Wobbler.
2. Retrieving: For outdoor retrieving I like to use the Chuck-It with a rubber ball. This allows me to throw farther than I normally could with a regular ball. Despite the weather we try to have some outside exercise at least once per day. Retrieving allows us to get in some 'quick' outdoor exercise.
Throwing the ball downhill and having the dog return uphill with the ball is also a great way to add more impact to retrieving.
3. Tugging and Retrieving: Indoors, I throw soft tug toys, and then play tug with the dogs for returning back to me with the toy. I also ask for tricks and then reward with tossing and tugging.
4. Targeting: We love targeting games, and one of these games is teaching the dog a nose touch to a traffic cone. I incrementally increase the distance of the cone from me until the dog is running to the other side of the house touching the cone. I click when the dog touches the cone, and then the dog runs back to me to get the treat.
I've used this same cone targeting games on stairs. I put the cone at the top of the stairs and then send the dog to the top of the stairs to nose touch the cone. Again, I click when the dog's nose touches the cone, and then the dog returns downstairs to get the treat.
5. My dogs' favorite winter game is searching for dog kibble in the snow. I'll toss a cup or two of kibble in the snow and then send the dogs out to search for it. They love this. They also love hiking in the snow.
6. My dogs love "Find It!" games. I'll hide a toys and then send them to find the hidden toy. This is also a great way to work on sit/stays or down/stays. Have your dog sit and stay while you hide the toy, and then release him to go find it.
7. Last but not least, clicker training! Clicker training is a great brain activity for your dog. Dogs need mental challenges as well as physical activity. Clicker training helps keep your pooch mentally fit!
So what do you do to survive the winter months with your dog?