Activities For Small Dogs In Snow

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Introduction

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.

The Maze

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Cold Day
Free
Normal
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
shovel for digging
toys
Yummy treats
Activity description
Snow can be shaped to make sculptures, shapes and many forms. A great game to play in the snow is to build a maze for your dog. Of course this takes effort, but it can be reused until a fresh snowfall fills it in. The idea of the maze is to make a few dead ends with a few other leads culminating in the exit from the maze. It will teach your dog how to observe and work out the exit, although they have the power of the nose to follow your footsteps. At first, just let them find their way out, giving loads of encouragement and a few well place treats to give them an incentive. After they find their way out, you can go and hide a few toys and get them to find those. Leave a few clues for your buddy, like a pile of snow or a little treat. Its suppose to be fun, not a serious event. This activity teaches teamwork, gives your dog some scent work, and cultivates their desire to please and do a good job.
Step
1
Do the maze work
First you get a workout preparing the maze. Maybe you can enlist other family members to help. But its best not to show your dog this maze just yet. Having a small dog makes it a small maze, so that is a bonus for you.
Step
2
Your a-maze-ing dog
Invite your dog out to play in the snow. Pick them up and carry them into the middle of the maze, then step out and call your dog. Give praise as they go first down one maze path, then another. As they find the treats, clap and make a fuss.
Step
3
Give encouragement
Your dog may get out quickly, or it may take them a few minutes. But give them a lot of encouragement. Your dog will soon zoom out to race around you in excited circles.
Step
4
Let the game continue
Once they settle, treat them and get them to stay, while you first let them sniff each toy, then as they wait, go in and hide them. Then let the dog find their way into the maze to rescue their toys. Each find is to be applauded and when they bring the toy out, they get a reward before going back in to find another.
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Destroy the Snowman

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Cold Day
Free
Hard
20 - 40 min
Items needed
Snowman
Sticks for arms
Carrot for Nose
Small treats to decorate snowman
Activity description

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.

Step
1
Build the snowman
Get your dog started in digging up the compacted snow so it is loose to build with. They won't need much of an invitation but if they do, hide a treat or two in the snow and that will work wonders. Remember to tell them how clever they are while you both work.
Step
2
Decorate
Once you have built your snowman, place the twigs for arms and the carrot for the nose. Take some yummy treats while your dog sits and watches, and decorate your snowman's head. You might even put a treat on the twig arms.
Step
3
Push the 'go' button
As your dog watches, they will get wound up with excitement smelling those treats. But make them wait, then build up the excitement by saying 'ready, steady GO!' Then have your camera ready as your dog starts to tear down the snowman to get the treats. Cheer your dog on, yell and laugh. This game is really fun for everyone, but your little pooch will earn those tasty morsels that they find.
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Go Sledding

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Cold Day
Cheap
Hard
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Sled
Dog vest and Booties
Activity description

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.

Step
1
Take the sled out
While you can sled down on your stomach, it can get pretty cold - even for a dog. A sled is the perfect tool for this game. Take it out of storage and dust it off for the winter season. You can sit your small dog on the sled and pull your dog and sled along to the top of the hill which will get them used to the motion. Then climb on board, cuddle your little pal for the first run, and push off for a smooth slide down to the bottom.
Step
2
Get your dogs wag on
The laughter and motion will get your dog grinning from ear to ear and their tail wagging flat out. The excitement is infectious and by the time you get to the end of your ride, both you and your dog will be keen to work your way back up the hill and do it all over again!
Step
3
Don't overdo it
Small dogs can tire quickly in deep snow, so monitor their progress. If they show signs of tiring, take them inside for a warm up and a good snack. After all, winter can last a while, so there will plenty of sledding time left. Sledding with your dog strengthens the bond you have and it is valuable time together.
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More Fun Ideas...

Hidden in the Snow

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.

A Winter Walk

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!

Fetch the Snowball

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.

Conclusion

Winter can be a fun time of year, the snow doesn't have to keep you or your dog indoors. Most dogs will love playing in the snow, as it is something new to be experimented with. Your dog can dig to their hearts content, roll around and make snow doggie angels, or just try and chase you around the yard. They will get a good work out and wear off some of their energy. Then, on winter nights they will relive their experience, quietly woofing in their sleep as they snuggle on your lap in front of the fire. Snow can be like walking in sticky mud, it clings to your dogs limbs, making it hard to walk. This effort builds up your dogs muscles and improves overall health. It is a good time for training, or just to do some bonding. You can guarantee your small dog will be raring to go outside and play with that funny white stuff, so use winter as a variation to training. Even the smallest of dogs will welcome a chance to play in the snow; just ensure small, short hair dogs are protected from the cold by a doggie vest and perhaps a smart woollen scarf. They will look like a dog model going to a photo shoot.