Winter Games!

apbc snowy pawprint winter games with your dog

As the nights grow longer and colder it’s nice to stay wrapped up indoors in the warm with a nice cup of tea, but what about your dog?  They still need their exercise and plenty of mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy this winter. Here are some ideas to help you keep your dog happy, they are also useful for any dogs that are on cage rest or are reaching their golden years.  

Make meal times fun. Instead of feeding your dog in their food bowl, scatter-feed your dog and get them to use their nose to find all the food, or put their food in one of the many food and fun toys available. KONGS™, Squirrel Dudes™ and Maze-A-Balls™ are just some of the toys available to make meal times fun. You can even ‘seal’ the food in with peanut butter or cream cheese and freeze them to make them last that little bit longer. This is quite an effective way of mentally stimulating your dog without using up too much of your time and a great way to prevent boredom. 
Toys Get yourself a toy box and teach your dog to fetch their toys and put them in the box. Start by teaching your dog the name for one of their toys and then teach them to pick up that toy and place it in the box. Over time you can name more toys and teach your dog to fetch each one individually and place them in the box. If your dog picks this up quickly, you can turn this into a find and seek game and start hiding the toys around the house for your dog to find. If the toy is one that can hold food you can hide them in pots or under boxes and get your dog to sniff them out! 
CLICK! CLICK!  Clicker training your dog is a great way of teaching your dog new tricks. Once your dog understands that a click predicts the arrival of food, they will soon learn that the sound of the click means they are doing something good. Clicker training means you can reward your dog at the precise moment they do something like touching an object or target stick with their nose, lifting a front paw, or even a back paw.  How about getting two tubs and placing food under one of them and getting your dog to point at the tub with the food? It makes a great party trick for the guests!  
The tricks are only limited by your imagination and this is a great way to bond with your dog over the cold winter nights. The more your dog is rewarded for listening to you in the house, the more likely they are to listen to you when out of the house.

Danielle Beck BSc (Hons) Provisional Member APBC

Danielle has a degree in zoology and has been studying and working with animals for 10 years.

For more information about how to have fun with your dog, contact danielle [at] mypetguardians [dot] com