If you think you’re the only one who goes a little stir crazy during the winter, think again! It can also be tough on your dog. But never fear; you can beat the winter blues together. Here’s how:
When in doubt, walk it out.
The more quickly you walk, the warmer you’ll (both) be! Here are some benefits of a brisk stroll in the cold with your four-legged friend:
- Many people suffer from seasonal depression in the winter because they don’t get as much vitamin D from being outside in the sunlight as they do in the warmer months.
- Exposure to direct sunlight increases serotonin levels in your body, so the rays should make you feel happier.
- Exercising makes you both less likely to keep those 10 lbs. of holiday cookie weight. Regular winter walks help ensure your exercise routine stays consistent.
Try some training.
You know that lots of exercise makes for a tired and happy pup, but mental exercise has its benefits, too. You don’t have to brave the tundra to do some indoor training. Here’s why you should try it:
- When you finish a project, how do you feel? Probably exhausted! A similar thing happens when we train our dogs. Exerting mental energy often takes the physical edge off of them.
- Sit, lie down, stay, come and leave a food treat are all good things to teach. And if your dog’s a seasoned pro, throw in some challenges. Speak, shake, spin—even fetching soda from the fridge—can be rewarding for both of you.
- Not only will a fantastic dog trick impress your friends at parties, it will also help you build a great relationship with your dog. Need some inspiration? Check out one of my favorite sites www.domorewithyourdog.com.
Play with a puzzle.
A puzzle toy, that is! Not only is it like giving a pacifier to an antsy dog, but they’ll have hours of fun with it, too. Here’s why I love them:
- There’s a full range of puzzle toys for every skill level and ability. If your dog is just starting out, try a simple puzzle toy – if your pup is a puzzle expert, try something trickier.
- It may only take your dog 30 seconds to gobble his meal out of his bowl, but if you put it into a puzzle toy, it could take hours. And after your dog has been working on his puzzle for a while, he should be pleasantly exhausted.
- Dogs release stress and excess energy through chewing. If your dog is a serious chewer, be careful which toys you give him (if he tears through a toy it can become a choking hazard). For the strong-jawed, ask your vet for an appropriate chew toy.