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Indoor & Outdoor Winter Fun for Dogs

by Dennis ODonnell on April 29, 2020

Let it snow! For dogs who love the cold and for dogs who don’t, there are plenty of ways to pass the cold season that both enrich your pup and build a stronger relationship. Check out these options for winter fun indoors and out!

Outdoor Fun

Is your dog a snow bunny at heart? Outdoor play, especially in the snow, provides your dog with extra stimulation and a much harder workout! Here are three ideas for winter fun outdoors:

  • Power walk: A long walk in the white stuff means increased resistance. Be prepared to get worn out!
  • Snowball catch: Channel your inner 7-year-old, and pack a firm snowball. Toss for your pup to “catch!” Just be sure to throw snow that hasn’t been treated (in other words, choose snow from yards, not sidewalks) in case he gets a mouthful.
  • Find it: Just like you hide treats around your yard during the summer for nose work, playing “find it” in the snow increases the challenge and gives your dog something new to try with his nose. Just be ready with your camera… snow piled up on your pup’s nose is an Insta-gem!

Indoor Fun

If the weather’s inclement or your pup dislikes winter weather, there’s a ton of ways to play inside. Here are three ideas for winter fun indoors:

  • Rally obedience: While it’s a sanctioned dog sport, often called Rally-O, harness the concept in your living room! Get the family involved to create stations: Mom asks for a sit, kiddo calls the dog to come and asks for a down, dad calls the pup and asks for a twirl, and so on. Get creative!
  • Proofing: Pick a behavior that your dog struggles with–it can be anything from a trick to come to leave it–and run drills every day. Up the ante each time to keep it interesting and engaging for your dog. By the time you head back out in spring, he’ll have the behavior down pat!
  • Nose work: A perennial winner, nose work is critical to a dog’s happiness because it provides enrichment that appeals to his natural instincts. In winter, if you can’t (or don’t want to) get outdoors, practice nose work in the house by hiding food or toys with increasing difficulty throughout the house.

No matter if your dog prefers cuddles by the fire or dashes through the snow, winter is a perfect time to work on your bond! And any of these six with help you and your dog build a better relationship all winter long!

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