I know I am not the only who’s dogs are driving them nuts right now! It’s SO COLD outside, my dogs are forced to stay indoors and are really, really bored! My Boxer Pebbles even took up her childhood habit of chewing shoes?? What the what? She also spent the better part of an hour this morning whining at the door to go outside and play. UGH!
It’s no joke though, it’s seriously cold outside and it happened seemingly overnight. Which means none of us have had proper time to acclimatize to it. So what are we to do to entertain these boredom-ridden creatures of ours?
If you have to go outside… Dress them for it!
Wind-breaking Jacket – Jackets for dogs are not necessarily only a fashion statement! Finding a good quality jacket that keeps your dog warm, and protects them from the cold and wind can be extremely functional too! If you purchase a good quality jacket, you may only need to purchase one for the life of your pup! It’s a worthy investment that may just convince your pup to go outside to use the bathroom, or convince you to take them for a quick zip around the block!
Boots – Does your dog lift their feet the minute they hit the cold pavement? Have you ever had to carry a 60lb dog home because they refuse to walk? I HAVE!! (hint… it’s not fun!) A great pair of well-fitting boots that are warm – and stay on your dog – can be invaluable!
Besides being warm, dog boots also protect your dog and their feet from sidewalk salts and chemicals that have been applied to the ground to melt ice. If your dog wears boots, you simply remove them when you arrive home, and need not worry about them licking their feet and ingesting nasty stuff! You will never have to worry about dry, cracked pads due to sidewalk salt either.
Musher’s Secret – If your dog absolutely will not wear boots (and even if they will!), Musher’s Secret is a paw protector that is rubbed into the pads of the feet. In extreme winter conditions, it can also be rubbed between the toes to prevent snowballing. Musher’s Secret protects your dog’s paws against just about everything!
A Snoodie – Some dogs have very thin ears with very little hair coverage that can be prone to frostbite. A Snoodie (cross between a scarf and a hoodie) can keep those ears warm and toasty on winter walks.
If you opt to stay indoors…
If you have no need to go outdoors and choose to stay in where it’s warm, you may need to find activities to keep your dogs busy. You can be guaranteed that most dogs will find their own “activities” if you don’t’ provide one for them!
Food Dispensing Toys and Games – If you feed your dog kibble (dry food) there are many toys and games on the market that you can use to feed them with that will help keep them busy and exercise their minds. If you feed raw, you can utilize these toys and games using treats. On days with lots of game-play, just reduce their meal size. We have many available in store; come in and we’d be happy to help you find one.
“Find the Treats” – A popular game in our household is “find the treats”. How it works: we hide treats throughout the house while our dogs wait in their crates or in the bedroom behind a baby gate. The first few treats are easy to find and these ones put the dogs in “game-mode” and when they discover them, they continue following their noses all over the house.
Once your pups start to understand this game (it doesn’t take long!), you can make it more complicated by hiding the treats in progressively harder to find locations. Hint: you may want to introduce this game with treats that are more on the smelly side, like freeze-dried tripe, fish treats, or really meaty treats.
Chew Treats – Bully sticks and raw bones can be a lifesaver when you need something to keep your pup busy during your favourite tv show or while you have guests over. There are about as many chews and bones as there are breeds of dogs, so come in and we’ll help you find something appropriate for your pup.
Fun activities away from home…
Dog Daycare – If your pup is social and enjoys the company of other dogs, they may enjoy spending time at a dog daycare. A good daycare will provide your pup with opportunities to learn, play, and rest – just like people daycare! And the best part is that they come home tired – and when it’s cold like this that means no sub-zero walkies for you! If you aren’t sure how to choose a good dog daycare, check out “REX in the City’s” Dog Daycare Listings (REX is a listing service for local pet businesses that use and endorse only positive reinforcement methods.)
Note: Most daycares require that you book an introduction visit prior to your dog attending daycare. This visit is to see if your pup is a good candidate for daycare, so make sure you call ahead!
Hire a Dog Walker – So maybe your dog is fine to go outside if they are bundled in their winter gear, however, you are less than thrilled about the idea… Hire a dog walker! A dog walker will take your dog outside for you! (when the conditions are safe for both themselves and your dog) Most dog walkers offer both on leash private walks, and group off leash dog park plays. Not sure where to find a good dog walker? Check out the dog walker listings on REX.
Dog Training Classes – Dog training classes are a great way to keep you and your pup busy throughout the cold winter months. There are SOOO many options: agility, nose work, tricks, obedience, rally… the opportunities are endless! If you are looking for trainers that use only positive-reinforcement training, check out the positive dog trainer listings on REX. You may have to call around to see which ones offer indoor classes.
As you can see, with a little imagination there are lots of ways to keep your pup busy on cold days! Have you found something fun to entertain your pup during this cold-snap? Tell us about it in the comments below, or tag us on Instagram @tailblazerscopperfield and show us a photo of your pet keeping busy and out of trouble, or dressed in gear from our store!