Winter is a difficult time for pet parents in terms of keeping
our furry friends occupied. It's easy for pets to get a bit of
cabin fever, so you might have to be creative in finding ways to
siphon off their pent up energy. It doesn't have to be tricky,
though. Here are 5 easy and fun ways to get movin'.
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1. It's Treadmill Time!
If you are one of the thousands of people who own one of these
contraptions, this can be a great way to help your pooch blow off
some steam during the chilly winter
months. And while they may be skeptical at first, if you
start off slow and gradually up the speed, most dogs will grow to
2. Make Them the Stair Master
Another easy way to have your dog burn through their extra energy is to run them up and down the
stairs. An exercise most easily done with two people, one at the
top and the other at the bottom of the stairs, a little
monkey-in-the-middle on the steps is a surefire way to give your
dog a good run indoors. The same thing can be done in a long
hallway, but the stairs add the extra element of the climb.
3. Teach Them Something New
Wintertime is a great opportunity for some training. If you know
that your dog isn't always the best at a certain command, take
this time to rehearse. It will give you a more obedient dog, and
it gives them the mental stimulation they're not getting by just
laying on the sofa.
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4. Play Hide and Seek
A fun twist on the classic game, you can hide treats around your
house and watch as your dog searches high and low, engaging them
for upwards of an hour (depending on how many treats you lay
out). You might need to point a couple out to get them started,
but this game is a low involvement way to keep your dog from
climbing up the walls. Also, if you want to try a different
angle, go back to basics and hide yourself, seeing how long it
takes them to find you!
Or, if space is tight, you can try one of these fun, interactive
games. They take up no space at all, and can provide hours of
5. Do Some Doga
This interactive pastime is basically what it sounds like -- yoga
with your dog. Doga is a great way to increase your balance,
dexterity, and peace of mind, all while spending time with your
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Try an Indoor Training Class With Your Dog
Since winter makes outdoor fun and games a challenge, this can be
the perfect time to sign up for an indoor training class. Most
facilities have climate controlled areas that also allow for a
romp when the dogs have finished their drills.
Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. For the most benefit,
you need to be with your dog for the training. A “send away” may
train your dog to obey and follow the direction of the trainer,
but you need your dog to mind you, too. Dog training classes
teach owners as much as they teach the dog.
What to Look for in an Indoor Training Class
Look for a training class that offers different levels. Some
train for competition sports, and others for fun matches, so be
sure you know what you want out of the class before you sign up.
Also ask for references, and request to watch a class to see how
the trainer (and other dogs and owners) behave. You want the dogs
and the owners to have fun, without any fear or scary techniques
Ask if the trainer has certification and what that means. There
are different kinds and these are not nationally regulated so
anyone can “say” they’re a trainer. Look for those who state they
are “positive” trainers who use reward-based training. That means
they reward dogs for doing the right thing, rather than looking
for mistakes to punish. After all, once training is done you want
your dog to still love you.
Pet Training Organizations
Some organizations to check out for trainers include
the Association of Pet Dog
Trainers, the International Association of
Animal Behavior Associates, and National Association of Dog
Obedience Instructors. You can also check with
the American Kennel
Club site for dog sports and clubs that sponsor training
Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, consultant
to the pet care industry and the award winning author of 23 pet