Activities For Dogs In Wisconsin On Cold Days

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Introduction

Chances are, if it's cold in Wisconsin, that probably means there's snow on the ground. But that shouldn't stop you and your dog from having a good time. Whether you choose to be inside avoiding the cold or out making the best of it, there's certainly plenty to do, and all it takes is a little creativity (and of course a winter jacket doesn't hurt either). So without further ado, here's at least a short list of some ideas you can use to brush away the cold weather blues.

Snownose

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Cold Day
Free
Easy
5 - 30 min
Items needed
Strong-smelling treats
Winter Jacket
Gloves
Activity description
If there was ever a game almost every dog seems to love, it's Hide and Treat, the game where you hide treats in a room and let your dog loose to find them. But you're not just restricted to keeping it indoors. Playing outside in the snow can be just as rewarding and add an additional level of challenge for them. Snow is unique in that it dulls an object's overall scent, but also preserves it longer and allows it to exist amongst fewer smells in general, as it suppresses many other weaker smells nearby. Because of it, you can make a great hide-and-treat type game with varying levels of difficulty. It's free, incredibly easy, can last for just one round or several, and best of all, gets them exercise and practice following their nose in a new environment.
Step
1
Hide the treats
For the sake of ease, especially early on when your dog is just getting used to the game, start with a relatively small space where they won't have to travel too far to find their treasure. Scoop out a small handful of snow in several spots and drop the extra-potent-smelling treats in, and rebury them with a light layer of snow. Make sure you've kept your dog inside beforehand or somewhere where they can't see you place the treats.
Step
2
Cut them loose
Let them outside and give them a smell of one of the treats, then reward them once they smell it. Leave the sealed bag of treats somewhere away from the search area, as you don't want any additional distractions, then encourage them to seek the first few out, demonstrating digging one up if need be.
Step
3
Finish and repeat
Once your dog has found all the treats, give them a signal like "All gone!" or "All done!" so they know there are no other treats to be found. If they excelled during the first round, up the difficulty by burying the treats deeper, hiding them near other objects in the yard or increasing the amount of space they have to search. Once you've completed the activity, rest assured they'll likely have gotten in some good exercise, increase their nose-based skills, and gotten rewards in the process - a win-win for everybody!
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Snowball Catch

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Cold Day
Free
Easy
5 - 20 min
Items needed
Gloves
Activity description
When it comes to easy games you can play with your dog in the snow, few are as cheap and easy as snowball catch and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. You will need at least some semi-packable snow, but outside of that, a pair of gloves (and a jacket) will likely be all you need. Of course, it won't last as long as some other snow-based games, as it can grow old quickly and is a lot of intense cold in your pup's mouth if done for an extended period of time, but it's great for having them burn off a bit of extra energy while entertaining both of you.
Step
1
Build some snowballs
The first step all depends on two main elements: that your dog likes catching snowballs, and that you can make them quick enough. If your dog gets distracted easily, it may be better to have some pre-made before the game begins. If they'll wait for you to make them, go that route instead, as it's much easier to gauge the size and solidity they're comfortable with once you've thrown a few. Just make sure that they aren't packed so tight they cause your dog harm. It can still be hard on their teeth if they don't explode when they're caught and you certainly don't want them choking on stray pieces, even if they'll quickly melt.
Step
2
Serve them up
Start tossing the snowballs to your dog, beginning close to you so they get the hang of it with soft easy tosses, especially if they haven't played before. Once they're on board and comfortable, start increasing your throwing distance so they have to run farther to catch them. Make a game of it if you can. Try to have them catch numerous consecutive snowballs or catch so many out of so many at a certain distance. Any extra level of challenge and record keeping will help keep the activity more interesting for both of you in the long run.
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Sled and Slide

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Cold Day
Cheap
Easy
10 - 90 min
Items needed
Sled
Sledding Hill
Activity description
If your dog loves snow, chances are they'll also thoroughly enjoy most activities that can be done in it, including slipping, sledding, and sliding. While it may be off-putting for some dogs, most see it as a good time and will wholeheartedly participate once they experience how fun it is. It's a cheap activity overall, as you just need a sled (if at all), and a place with a decent downhill slope, which shouldn't be too hard to find in the average Wisconsin town. It can last a short time or up to a few hours if you're having enough fun, it's easy to do, and can be done on most types of snow from the crunchy packable stuff to a soft powdering.
Step
1
Find a hill
If there's enough snow, you may not even have to go anywhere, as you can always shovel a huge pile of it together and make your own mini sledding hill, especially if your yard already has a slope. But if you've only got a few inches of snow and still want to take advantage, you're likely still in luck. While some communities do have designated sledding hills, they may not always be easy to find, so start with a quick Internet search to see what comes up. If nothing else, drive past a few of your local parks and see if any possess a suitable hill. Once you've found your location, it's time to hit the slopes!
Step
2
Encourage and courage
Some dogs really don't enjoy being out of control, which is often what sliding and sledding ends up being, so slow starts can make all the difference in getting them adjusted. Start with a smaller, shallower incline and have them watch you slide down first. If they look comfortable, try to convince them to follow suit, using treats if need be. If they're stable enough, you can always just put them in the sled with you, just make sure they're secure if it ends up going fast! Like car rides, most dogs take great delight in moving in a way they haven't before and before long, you should know exactly how daring they're willing to get!
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More Fun Ideas...

Dog Maze

If you end up with a fair amount of snow and have shorter dogs, making a snow maze or track is a great way for them to explore the outdoors without sinking into the snow. Grab a shovel and carve out a maze or a track for them to burn around.

Obstacle Course

While a maze might be easy, an obstacle course is just as fun. Build ramps for them to walk up, down, and across, piles for them to jump over, and if they're small enough, tunnels for them to run through. There's no limit to your creativity as long as your design functions within the limits of physics!

Hide and Seek

Snow can be the perfect opportunity to up your hide and seek game. If you have a mostly empty yard and couldn't play well there before, now's your chance! Shovel up some walls and hiding spots to provide your dog some additional challenge.

Conclusion

Winter weather can often be a deterrent from getting outside but we say get bold and go cold! A natural double-coat (or even just a purchased dog jacket) and a coat of your own is just about all you need to open the doors to tons of great outdoor activities, including those that just stay in the yard as well as those that will have you finding new spots to sled or explore. Just because the snow is falling, that doesn't mean you should treat it like the sky is falling! So grab your furry friend, get outside and turn that winter wonderland into a winter fun-derland!