The Winter Doldrums
So it's been a couple months since we've put out a blog....things have been moving quick around here, and not always for the best. Not trying to throw a pity party, but I mention it because once again we find we've been leaning on the unwavering love and commitment from Dexter. It's difficult to put into words, but if you're a dog person - you already know.
So with that in mind, we wanted to touch on the most inactive season for our four-legged companions - and how you can make it suck less. It's extremely hard to get your dog the exercise they need when it's bitter cold out, and we are guilty of it too! Dexter sleeps all day while we are gone, and when we get home and want to veg out on the couch, the LAST thing he wants to do is lay next us. So what to do? Well, we put out a blog last year about a game called "find it", which you can read by clicking here. We've been playing this one lately, and Dexter gets extremely excited about it. Kind of like us when there's any food involved in any way whatsoever (Side note, we made a list of places we wanted to eat the week we were closed for Christmas - almost checked them all off!).
So what else can you do? Well you don't have to re-invent the wheel, just be conscious of the fact that your dog needs exercise. In fact, new studies in canine medicine suggest that dogs are just as susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as humans. The best way to fight winter blues is with lots of stimulation (mental and physical). If your dog seems sluggish, chances are they are feeling the effects of SAD. Get as much natural light into your home as possible, and turn some lights on. Even though it's winter, don't sleep on the dog park. If you only go for 15-20 minutes, it's still worth it....and usually pretty hilarious to watch them run in the snow. You could also suck it up and go for a short walk or find a hiking trail. It's a win win for everyone involved, because it gets you off the couch for a little while. Nobody ever regrets a walk or hike! But if you're going to be lazy, then here's some indoor things you can do (*disclaimer* - I'm lazy, so don't feel insulted).
1. Work on a new trick! (Or polish up an old one)
Letting your dog run is always good, but don't overlook the value of mental stimulation. Work on your dog giving paw, or master "drop it". One of our favorite commands to work on with Dexter is "Stay". In the middle of a play sesh, we'll make Dexter sit, then lay, and finally stay. We'll put the toy about 10 feet away from him on the ground, and make him sweat it out for a while. He'll stare at us with such a level of concentration and intensity, that it's hard not to laugh...and he won't move a muscle. We'll make him stay for what seems like a full minute, and then finally release him with a finger snap. He then takes off full speed ahead to grab the toy. Try this with your dog and see how long you can get him to stay for. Stretch the wait time out longer and longer, let us know how you do.!
2. Bring your dog for a ride
A change in their daily routine will undoubtedly be appreciated. Go for a drive, bring him/her to a friends house for a play date, or plan to hit a few dog friendly stores. Driving down a few woodsy side roads will add some K9 eye-candy into the mix too.
3. Take the stairs
Your very own built in canine stair-master. A good play session can turn great if you send the dog running like a maniac up and down the stairs chasing after a toy. Victory will be yours when they lose interest in the ball to go get a drink, then curl up and lay down afterwards.
Well folks, that's that. We truly hope you enjoy time with family (humans and dogs) during the remaining winter days. There's nothing better.