It’s official…it’s freezing (actually, it’s 30 below freezing). It’s so cold in Chicago that businesses are closing so people don’t have to go outside. CPS has closed school on Tuesday for fear of kids going outside…but let’s be real, all those kids are outside playing in the snow. (For those of you not in Chicago, last winter was SO COLD that the city got a new nickname, Chiberia).
Stout and Shia snuggling up to keep warm.
This being Stout’s first snow and frozen experience, he’s less than thrilled. He’s got a thick coat, but it’s not enough for -30 degrees. Time for indoor fun! Here are some of my favorite ways to keep the pup entertained and stimulated withut spending extensive time outdoors:
Food dispensing toys:
These are a great way to exercise the brain, although if your dog is a smart cookie (no pun intended), don’t use it often because it won’t take them long to get the treats out. Also, don’t leave the toy out when you’re not around- a lot of them have small pieces that need to be taken out to get the treats, and no one wants to go to the vet to have something removed.
One of my favorite games is THIS ONE from Petco. Locally Chicago owned PetStuff also has some HERE. (Petstuff will deliver for FREE in Chicago. Stay inside when it's cold and have the toys brought to you!)
Tug of war
A classic indoor game that gets Stout’s blood pumping is tug of war
I save all my old socks and undershirts that have holes in them, stuff them into an old sock and create my own tug of war toy!
You can also cut an old tshirt into strips, braid them and make a tug rope for your pup.
Used by detective dogs and K9 units, this can be extremely mentally and physically stimulating for your dog
Start with a number of small boxes- this one is difficult for us because Shia tries to get involved and distracts Stout…but there are many other ways to do this!
Check out THIS SITE for more tips and tricks on how to start nosework training.
Have one person stand on each end of a staircase (one up and one down). Call the pup up and down the stairs and reward him with a treat upon arrival! This is also a great opportunity to practice training- we make Stout sit and shake before he gets his treat. Switch it up by using different trick commands to keep them paying attention.
Be aware if you’re living in an apartment building- don’t want to scare your neighbors as they leave the apartment!
Hide and seek
One person hides with a treat and calls puppy. Second person hides while first is being found.
Keep it going! Move around the house to different hiding places and see how long it takes the pup to find you!
Doga (dog + yoga)
While I kind of wish this was a joke, it’s not. Doing yoga with your dogs is an interactive way to spend time with them, and some people swear that it calms their dog down. Everytime I’ve tried to workout or do yoga in my apartment, Stout lays down on the ground in the worst possible spot and licks my face every time I do a sit-up. Afterall, we mimick many of our pets' movements in our yoga poses, so they must be doing something right! However, if you want to give this a go, check out some free Doga videos HERE. But I found this funny site that has a ton of pictures of people attempting Doga. Check it out!
Animal Planet has some great tutorial VIDEOS if you want to get started.
Number of stores allow dogs in their stores. HERE is a link with the full list, although you should check with your local branches/locations since some may vary by location. Stout is not a good shopping companion unfortunately- a bit to big and strong for his own good. Stout = bull in a china shop. Might be best with a small dog who would fit in the shopping cart.
What are your favorite ways to keep your four-legged friends entertained in the winter months? Good luck and stay warm!