We live in Minnesota. We always have cold winters with snow. This year is exceptionally cold. We are experiencing unusual cold, up to 50 degree below zero wind chill factors. Schools are closed on these very cold days as are many of the scheduled activities. Being confined to the house for longer than normal periods of time can result in boredom and lack of exercise for dogs. Dogs need a lot of exercise in all seasons; walking and running. It is important to keep a dogs brain challenged as well as their body exercised. I have my dogs in K9 nose work weekly classes. This sport is great because when it is too cold or too hot to be outside we can do nose work searches in the house.When I get the nose work bag down the dogs both go into their crates because they know they will be searching soon. Nose work is a great sport for dogs; any dog can do this sport. This sport provides physical and mental stimulation for dogs. We love it. It really is our favorite thing to do anytime we can do it. Nose work is also suited for any and all dogs. Young, old, disabled, absolutely any dog can do this sport. The National Association of Canine Scent Work is the authentic website the has all the information and will answer any questions you may have about this sport.
Another thing we do is dog puzzles. These are puzzles made just for dogs. It is good to supervise your dog when they begin playing with the puzzles to monitor any frustration level and make sure they experience success. Dogs need mental stimulation and physical exercise. Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise. Both puzzles and similar brain stimulation games are fun and beneficial for our dogs. Jazz and Jive love their puzzles. One thing we experienced was on one of our therapy visits a child was working with a wooden puzzle and Jazz thought it was his puzzle. The child enjoyed hearing that Jazz had a puzzle too. You can find safe, well-designed puzzles and games in pet stores and online. It is important to begin with a simple challenge and work your way up in challenge.
Another fun activity is teaching your dog tricks. I purchased a book of dog tricks many years ago and we still refer to it today. I keep the tricks simple and easy for me to teach and for my dog to learn. It is important for the dog to be successful at learning a trick so he will be willing to engage in the learning process again. It is a time we both look forward to and the benefits are huge. Your dog gains confidence and you can incorporate the tricks into numerous situations. I include many of them in our animal assisted therapy work. Children love being with a dog that can do tricks.
There are many fun things we can do with our dogs on rainy, snowy or even extremely hot days. The most important thing is to make the time to spend with your dog and have fun!