The Star-Herald

Keeping dogs happy in the cold winter

After a long, warm and beautiful fall, we now have winter settling in.  With already some below zero nights, we hope that all your furry friends are tucked safely inside, keeping warm and cozy.

Did you know that dogs can get bored just like humans? Well, they can.  I remember my first dog and my first vet I took him to, Dr. Eric Hunter. What a great veterinarian.  He was the one who told me about dogs getting bored. They need to exercise their body along with their minds.  So this week I thought I would share a few games that you and your dog can play inside your home.

Dogs find joy in simple things and love to play when you take the time to play.  When you take the time to play with your dog and teach them a new trick, you not only make their day, you are steering them away from unwanted behaviors and deepening your relationship. The dog learns to respond and enjoy themselves, and the more fun the dog has with you the better companion he becomes.

Playing can involve almost anything that you and your pooch both like.  A quick chase around the kitchen table or up and down a hallway is a good indoor exercise.  You can play keep away with a toy or a ball — toss the ball and have the dog bring it back to you and drop it so you can toss it again.  

Hide some treats in different locations of the house and ask the dog to find the treat, leading him to the areas you have hidden them. Always praise him when he finds them. 

Buy one of the Konga toys that you can add a treat to. Most dogs love those.   If you have an old sock, tie a knot in each end and use this to play tug-of-war.  The dog doesn’t care what you are playing, as long as you are involved with them.

Another mind game for your dog consists of three plastic cups and a treat. Let the dog watch what you are doing and put a treat under one of the cups. Switch them around on the floor and have him pick the cup it is under.  You will be surprised. Dogs are smart.  

I got quite a few of these ideas from a book I picked up called”Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know About Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need,” by Shelly Frost and Katerina Lorenzatos Makris.  I have found a lot of good reading in this book.

Remember, if you are looking for a friend for life, visit The Central Aroostook Humane Society at 24 Cross St., Presque Isle, or check us out on Facebook.  We have a lot of great animals looking for forever homes.  Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing for lunch from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m.  

Please be responsible pet owners and spay and neuter your pets.  

Gail Wieder is a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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