When the Weather Outside is Frightful

Play games with your furry friends!

We can’t deny it: winter is here for a while. Have you ever curled up under your blankets, only to have Fluffy or Fido insert themselves into your hibernation, looking for attention? Pets don’t slow down in the winter, and when frigid weather means shorter and fewer walks after being locked in all day, it can also mean one very bad thing: BOREDOM. According to The Humane Society of the United States, boredom can be a cause of unwanted behaviors like excessive barking, or destructive chewing. Here are some tips to battle the winter blues in yourself and your pets in our community!

  • Exercise indoors. Cat people are masters at finding creative ways to entertain and amuse their cats, but new ideas are great for trying out on snow days. Dogs can exercise indoors too! Play indoor fetch (if it won’t disturb the neighbors), or hide toys and treats all over the house for your dog to seek out. Small apartment? Doggy push-ups are great mental and physical exercise; just move from sit-to-down-to-sit and back as fast as your dog can master!
  • Young adult dogs are most likely to start to chew from boredom when they’re home alone. To battle pets’ boredom when you can’t be there, provide your dog and cat with toys that are “special” and only come out when you’re leaving, so they look forward to this time of day instead of dreading it. Protect your pet deposit by teaching your dogs what toys are OK to play with, and what’s not a toy at all! Investing time now will save you money and heartache down the line.
  • Go through Basic Training. You don’t need to leave the house to practice the basic commands: Come, Sit, Stay, and Down, so do some practice drills when the weather won’t cooperate. Find some new commands or tricks that challenge both of you to connect and cooperate. If your dog could use some leash-lessons, practice indoors where there are fewer distractions and you’re in control; just walk from room to room and reward him for paying close attention to you, and watching you for cues.

By Spring, when everyone emerges from hibernation, you and your pet will be better bonded and free of cabin fever!

For more information about pet care, visit www.humanesociety.org/pets.

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