Cold, Wet and Dark Out? No problem!

by Jo Page // November 2017

Cold, Wet and Dark Out? No problem!

Winter has hurriedly crept up on us (somewhat unfairly we feel) and whilst some people do love the crisp white snow and falling leaves, even the most optimistic of us struggle with a frigid gale and sideways rain. In the dark. Now, if you have a pooch like mine then a short walk is more than enough before they want to get back out of the weather. Unsurprisingly, this is fine by me! I do still need to make sure that her needs are met however otherwise I could end up with a hound that’s bouncing off the walls.

This is my (not so) secret plan for those nights when even the dog says no.

It is important that your dog does get to go outside. Apart from the obvious toileting needs, our canine friends get massive stimulation from their environment. If your weather is somewhat inclement, my advice is to let your dog sniff EVERYTHING it wants to. Okay, you’re not moving as quickly as you might like but allowing your dog to find out the latest gossip in the neighborhood (sniff lampposts to you and me) will go a long way to tiring them out. So, your dog has sniffed every turf mound and railing in sight and your back home, now what?

Firstly, you grab your towel…Sure you can dry the dog off with it, but why not make a game from the towel instead? Encourage that sense of smell even further by laying part of your dog’s dinner in the towel and then rolling it up. You can watch your pup have fun unraveling the towel and if they get super good, you can put in the treats, then fold the towel over before rolling.

 

Whilst your dog is having fun doing that, you can prepare the next part of their dinner. It’s been scientifically proven that dogs prefer to work for their food, so don’t feel guilty that they’re not getting it easily out of their bowl-this is way more fun! If you have a honeycomb-style ball (there’s lots of different types available from your local pet stores) you can roll pieces of kibble in bits of fleece and then stuff them into the ball like so:

Your dog will have lots of fun nudging the ball around and pulling out bits of fleece to get to the rest of their dinner. If you still have bits of kibble left after all of that, try just scattering them around the room. Scatter feeds are great fun and get the old nose working. If the weather isn’t too awful, try scattering the food in the grass outside, it’s basically a giant, natural snuffle mat! For more information about snuffle mats, check out our other blog:

 http://www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk/dog-school/dorset/our-blog/dog-school-dorset-14th-june-snuffle-mat/

Going out on our walks gives us a great opportunity to practice our training and complete the homework from Dog School classes. What if I told you that you can still practice your recall inside the house and have lots of fun doing so? Have a game of hide and seek! It’s great fun for all the family, especially for your children and each time your dog comes to find you or them, make sure they get a tasty reward. Without even realizing it, you’re reinforcing that recall.

With lots of sniffing and fun, comes lots of mental stimulation. By the end of your wet and windy night you should hopefully have a pooch that looks a lot like this one:

If you would like to learn more fun ways that you can occupy and train your dog or would like to find out more about our classes and events, call us on 07392 869380 or 07387 141057.

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