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Who has Cabin Fever?
In the wintertime, frequency of walks are reduced if not eliminated and trips to the park are shortened by the cold weather. So dogs are stuck inside all day. Or they go outside for short periods, but even these outings are less interesting than in the warmer months when people are outdoors, kids are playing, other animals are scurrying and scents are abundant. No wonder our dogs can seem depressed or subdued. And for some, the cabin fever is maddening and can result in naughtiness, or worse, destruction of property.
Don’t fret! You can beat the winter blues and strengthen your relationship with your dog at the same time! Playing indoor games and teaching tricks (yes even an old dog can learn a few things) is a great way to have fun with your best friend and improve your bond. When you do get out together in the spring, communication is enhanced and your dog will be more attentive to you.
Tricks are a great way to exercise a dog’s brain, mentally exhaust them and have fun in the process. Here is a list a few tricks to try.
- Play dead
- Balance a treat on his or her nose
- Back up
- Spin in circles (both directions)
- Sit pretty
- Walk on hind legs – forward, backwards, in a circle
- Fetch the paper (who wants to go out in the cold to get it anyway?)
Even indoors there are some physical activities you can do with your canine pal. You don’t need wide open spaces. Use your imagination! Try these physical indoor games...
- Tug on a rope (make sure the rules are clear to the dog)
- Jump through a hoop (hula hoops are available at toy stores, make sure the landing is easy on the joints and there is good traction for the paws)
- Jump over a broomstick/handle/dowel/PVC pipe
- Fetch down a long hallway
- Fetch up and down the stairs
- Weave between your legs (not recommended for Great Danes – unless you are REALLY tall!)
- Dance – Dance with your dog like no one is watching (if you have a hound or a howler, you can sing, too. Don’t be afraid to make your own music!)
- Massage your dog – who doesn’t like a good rub down with some nice stretching (Not really a game but a great way to bond – and you will notice any physical abnormalities)
Shaping behaviors – like the hot & cold game you played as a kid. Use a clicker or marker word to let the dog know that they are headed in the right direction. There is no limit to the fun things you can encourage your dog to do.
- Hide & Seek – either you hide form your dog or you hide something from him or her and encourage them to find it.
- Teach the names of different items – toys, leash, keys, shoes
- Teach your dog to bring you items
- Teach your dog to help you clean up – put his toys away, put sorted laundry in a basket for washing
- Teach your dog to close cabinets, drawers
You are bound only by your imagination! Together you and your canine companion can chase away those winter blahs and have a blast doing it!
For ideas and help teaching your dog’s owner (and best
friend) some new tricks:
call Pure Spirit at 952-226-2660.