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Embrace Winter Fun!
By Trish Phillips
Do you hibernate in the winter? Stay indoors as much as possible and cringe at the thought of going outside? Only get outside to walk the dog long enough to do their business? Here are some ideas for snowy fun that might bring a smile to your face – and your dog’s!
My dog loves snow, but it wasn’t always that way. When I moved to Minnesota from Arizona 10 years ago – in December, no less – my dogs were exposed to snow for the first time. The “video” of that first exposure replays in my mind every year around this time: Opie trying to walk (and run) without touching his feet on the ground and Gomer shoveling all the snow he could with his nose.
I loved playing “snowball fetch” with them. I’d watch while they tried to find and retrieve the snowball that I threw. When they were successful, it typically fell apart or melted before they got it back to me. Opie prefers to find and retrieve something tangible… like a toy or treat that I toss or bury.
I’ve not tried it with Opie, but I know people who go sledding with their dogs. The dog runs alongside the sled all the way down the hill… and then it is their job to pull the sled back up to the top. (Of course, standard sledding rules that apply to children apply to dogs… no unsupervised riding/sledding and stay to smaller slopes.)
I also know people who snowshoe with their dogs during the winter. Or hike on pet-safe trails. They comment that the trails seem like a new adventure each time to both them and their pets when buried under snow.
Of course, on those days that it’s too cold (even for Minnesotans) to go outside, there are plenty of activities to do indoors as well. Puzzle toys that make your dog think like the ones we mentioned last month (Article: Home Alone) or treat balls will help to keep your pet stimulated. Or, use the time indoors to teach your dog a new trick.
Keeping active will help both you and your pet to minimize boredom during the cold winter months. While you're having all this fun with your dog, don't forget about safety. Look here for some precautions to keep in mind this winter.