Activities For Dogs In Iowa On Cold Days

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Introduction

Let's face it; there are a good number of cold days in Iowa!  In January, for example, you can find temperature lows in the single digits. This can make it hard to be motivated to take your pup outdoors to allow them the activity that they require. That being the case, you will need some other activities to engage your pup on cold days in Iowa. Fortunately, you need not worry; there are plenty of things that you and your canine can do when the weather is chilly in Iowa. Not only will your pup get the physical release that they require, you guys will have some fun together.

River Lights Bookstore

Popular
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Cold Day
Cheap
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Leash
Treats
Activity description
On a cold day in Iowa, it is the perfect time to visit a bookstore and browse some books that may peak your interest. Located in downtown Dubuque, River of Lights Bookstore is just the place to spend some time; and you can bring your canine companion along for the visit. If your dog is well-behaved and on a leash, then they are welcome to accompany you. The two of you can roam the store and enjoy all that it offers or attend an event the bookstore is holding. Bring along some treats to reward your pup for good behavior or to distract them when necessary!
Step
1
Plan your visit
Planning a trip to River of Lights Bookstore will depend in part on where you are in relation to the bookstore. If you are close, not much planning will be necessary and you can visit many times through the cold weather months. If you are far from Dubuque, a visit will require some thought ahead of time. Their website will provide information on their hours, which you will want to keep in mind to be sure they are open when you arrive.
Step
2
Pack your bag
Fortunately, a trip to River of Lights Bookstore won't require that you bring much along. Some treats for your pup will be helpful, and of course, it is necessary to bring along their leash. If the weather is really cold and your dog tends to get cold quickly, a sweater may be useful to keep them warm.
Step
3
Enjoy the browse
Once you have what you need and your pup is ready to go, you can head to the bookstore. Make sure that you put your dog on their leash as you are leaving the car. This will ensure their safety as you walk into the store together. Once in the store, your dog should remain on leash as you explore the offerings together. Keep in mind that you may encounter other canines at the dog-friendly establishment; have a treat ready in case you need to distract your pup.
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Indoor Agility

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Cold Day
Cheap
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Treats
PVC Pipe
Hula Hoop
Kiddie Tunnel
Activity description
When temperatures are frigid, going outside may not be appealing for you or for your pooch. One way to ensure that your pup gets their activity needs met without having to venture outdoors is to set up agility activities inside your house. Your pup will get a physical and mental workout and you both will enjoy some quality time together as you set up the activity for your pup to engage in. Start with simple obstacles and increase their difficulty as your pup accomplishes each one. Once your canine companion has mastered a few agility tasks, you can string them together for a fun course that is designed especially for your pup!
Step
1
Choose the tasks
First, choose a few agility activities that you would like to work on with your pooch. You might already have some in mind, or you can research some possibilities. The internet has plenty of ideas to offer and you can also speak with someone at your local pet store to get their input on what activities might be fun for your pooch. It is important that you meet your pup where they are at so that they don't get discouraged; start with easier activities (or the easiest versions of activities) and add to the challenge as your dog gains experience.
Step
2
Source the items
Once you know what activities you would like to set up, you will want to collect the items that you need. Jumps are popular agility activities; PVC pipes are great for setting up jumps and are easy to acquire. A hula hoop is also a good tool for practicing jumps with your dog. You can also use PVC pipes to set up obstacles for your dog to run around. A kiddie tunnel is easy to come by and set up and makes a great activity for your pooch, who can run in and out of it.
Step
3
Get started
Once you have the items that you need to create the agility activities, choose one and get it set up. Some activities will be easier to set up than others; for example, if you are going to work on jumps with a hula hoop, there is no setup. Just start with the hula hoop on the ground and encourage your pup to walk through it. Be sure to reward your pup with a treat upon walking through it. Then, raise the hula hoop a short distance off of the ground and encourage your pup to walk through it. As they get the hang of things, you can increase the height of the hula hoop until they are jumping through it. Once your pup has mastered an activity, you can move on to the next activity and work with them on that one. Once your pup has a few activities under their belt, go ahead and link two or more together, creating an agility course for your canine buddy to take on.
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Hide And Seek

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Cold Day
Free
Easy
10 - 60 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description
Hide and seek is fun to play with your pup indoors and out. When it is cold in Iowa, you can keep your dog occupied with some rounds of hide and seek inside your home. A good way to keep your pup mentally and physically engaged, you can start simple, with your pup just having to find you, and get more complicated as your pup gets more confident by having more than one person hide during each round of the game. Each time your pup finds you, be sure to reward them with a treat before beginning the game again!
Step
1
Work on "stay"
To play hide and seek, your pup will have to understand the command "stay". If your dog is not able to "stay", you can begin by working with them on this command. For some dogs, it will take longer to get the hang of "stay" than others; if it is taking a while and you are ready to start playing hide and seek, include a friend who can hang on to your pup while you go and hide. When it is time for your dog to find you, your friend can let go of your pup's collar.
Step
2
Time to play
Once you have told your pup to "stay", or have a friend holding on to their collar, you can choose a place to hide. Start with easier hiding places so that your pooch can get the hang of the game. When it is time for your pup to seek, it is up to them to find you. Be sure to have some treats handy and offer one to your enthusiastic pup upon finding you. Then go ahead and start another fun round of the game.
Step
3
Add to the challenge
As your dog gets the hang of the game, you can add an additional challenge by having another person hide along with you; your pooch will then have to find both of you. You can further increase the difficulty of the game by including additional people and encouraging your pup to find everyone who has hidden. Make sure to reward your pup with treats after they find everyone; they will have earned them!
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More Fun Ideas...

Set Up A Scent Challenge

Dogs have excellent scenting abilities and on days when the weather is cold, you can take the opportunity to challenge their scenting skills. One way to do so is to set up an obstacle course that your pup must complete, either with their meal at the end or in parts after each activity of the course. You can also play hide and seek...for food! Go ahead and hide the food and encourage your canine companion to track the food down, using their nose. Scenting activities will be challenging for your pup and provide them with mental and physical stimulation.

Visit Bone-A-Patreat

On a cold day in Iowa, a place where you and your pup can spend some time together indoors is Bone-A-Patreat. Located in Des Moines, West Des Moines and Urbandale, Bone-A-Patreat is a pet supply store where your pup is welcome to join you so that you can check things out together. The establishment's owner, as well as the staff, are happy to help and share their knowledge about the products they offer and would love to say hello to your canine buddy. Not only can you and your pup spend time together indoors on a cold day, you can make new friends and learn about products that may benefit your furry companion.

Visit Bass Pro Shops

Is it chilly out? Then it may be just the right time for a trip to Bass Pro Shops, where you and your canine pal can explore the many items that the store offers. Bass Pro Shops has a location in Altoona as well as in Council Bluffs. Canine customers must be on their leash and well behaved. You and your pup will be able to get plenty of ideas of things that you can do together as the weather warms up, from all of the items that are for sale; Bass Pro Shops offers all sorts of gear for outdoor adventures!

Conclusion

In a state where there is a lot of cold weather, it is easy to worry about how you will help your pup meet their activity needs. Fortunately, keeping your dog (and you) active does not mean spending long periods of time outdoors in cold temperatures. There are plenty of things that you can do inside your own home, and Iowa offers places that you and your dog can visit together, regardless of the weather. Single digit temperatures in Iowa don't have to mean the chilling of your bond with your pup; if anything, the cold offers opportunities to enhance your relationship with your canine companion.