Winter is a magical time of the year, with the soft snow falling and blanketing the ground. While the air is colder and can chill you to the bone, there is a lot of fun to be found outside in the snow, especially for a dog! Small dogs find it a little more difficult due to their size, as they can sink up to their chest, but it won't stop them from joining in the fun. If your dog is normally an indoor dog, take measures to protect them from the winter white stuff. A small short hair dog may need the assistance of a vest to help keep their chest warm. Introduce them gradually to the snow if this is their first encounter. Twenty minutes is enough to begin with, then build up to longer periods. The snow provides good exercise for those leg muscles and will use up any spare energy your turbo charged pooch may have. Games are different and exciting, from chasing snow balls, sledding, sliding, and just going crazy! So at the first signs of winter, get prepared for some fun times ahead, and stock up on some hot chocolate for yourself, and some warm stock brew for your dog.
Destroy the snowman is a fun game. Of course, first you have to build the snowman. Teach your dog to dig in the snow so you can build the base. Your little buddy will love the digging and will watch with interest as you use the soft snow to start building the snowman. Don't let your dog destroy it yet though! Get it all finished and decorated first. This game takes advantage of your dog's ability to dig, which provides you with soft snow to build the snowman. Teamwork is the name of the game. Your dog will probably play with the sticks so you may have to fight them to get them back! Using a tasty treat to decorate the snowman's head makes your small dog work hard to tear the snowman down to get the treat. Again it is all about team work, and your dog is acting on your commands, and therefore, it is good training as well as fun.
Sledding is a great fun activity for both owner and dog. The fresh snow makes an ideal surface to lug out the sled and take a few practice runs. If your dog hasn't been sledding before, they are in for a treat. Introduce them to it by lifting them onto the sled and holding them while you start your descent. By the time you get to the bottom, they will be super excited to run to the top of the hill and do it again. Not only is this activity great for wearing off that excess doggie energy but it is a good workout for their muscles. Your dog may even try sledding down on their belly, which you can demonstrate if they haven't thought of it first. Small dogs can get hurt if the game gets too rough, so be aware and protect your small buddy as you whiz down the hill.
The packed snow makes an ideal medium to hide a few treats in that your dog has to find. Leave your dog inside while you hide the treats - and no peeking allowed! Dogs have such a good sense of smell and will follow your foot prints, so lay a few dummy trails and holes to trick them. Pat the snow smooth then bring out Sherlock Bones! If you have left a few uncovered treats along the trial, your dog will soon get the idea. The digging and running around will provide a good work out for your dog, so that those few treats will not add pounds to their frame. It is a ton of fun and will test your dogs powers of deduction.
The simple act of taking a walk gets a whole new meaning in the snow. Winter walking uses up a lot of energy, especially for smaller dogs. Go at a leisurely pace, and keep a leash on your dog if you are in a town area, to protect them from going out on the road which is partially by snow. The cold and the excitement will take its toll, so don't be surprised if you have to pick your little dog up and carry them home - especially an older dog. Those short legs will take a bit of getting used to walking in winter, but they will be raring to go the next time you mention going for a walk!
Dogs love to fetch, and the look on your dog's face when they try to fetch the snowball will be hilarious. Where did that snowball go? But they won't be confused for long, as they will soon catch onto this game. So take along a ball as well, and toss that every second or third go just so that they can be rewarded for their success. Of course if they bring back a mouthful of soggy snow, it will cost you as they deserve a treat for a cold mouth! It is only fair! Winter games are so much fun, and then a cuddle by the fire when the game is finished is just the yummy stuffing on top of the bone, as your dog would say.