If you’re reading this at home, it means another snow day. On one hand, you’ll get to stay in your pajamas; on the other hand, you’re still in your pajamas for probably the fourth day or so in a row.
Stir crazy yet? Your dog probably is.
Before you start growling “here’s Johnny,” here are some tips to keep him or her active on a snow day — from the experts at Petco.
1. Red Light, Green Light: This schoolyard favorite is easily converted into a fun game for dogs. Use the training commands “come” and “stay” to cue dogs when to walk and stop. Pets need mental stimulation to stay alert and refreshing training commands will not only get them out of that comfy bed, but will challenge dogs to complete the task. Don’t forget to reward them for a game well played.
2. Hide and Seek: Teach a dog to “stay” before hiding in another room of the house. After finding that secret spot, call the pet by his or her name. Keep calling the pet until he or she finds the hiding spot. If the house has stairs, it’s a great idea to put the dog downstairs while the person hiding goes up so the dog burns extra calories going up and down those stairs. This is also a great game to get the entire family involved in. Everyone can hide while the pet “stays.” Whoever the dog finds first, gets to shower the pet with love! Playing games together will help pet and pet parent connect, increasing that ever powerful human-animal bond.
3. Bubbles: Cats need to be kept active just like dogs. Although outside exercise may never be a part of their regular routine, felines can still feel the effects of the cold weather. Catnip bubbles will get them up and moving. Just blow these bubbles through the wand and cats will pounce on them as they float slowly to the ground.
4. Musical Chairs: Planning a winter doggie play date? Play a game of musical chairs to get pets moving. Just like regular musical chairs, the pets and pet parents will walk in a circle and when the music stops the last pet to “sit” is out. This game will help dogs socialize with other friends, as well as reinforce one of the most basic dog training commands.
5. DOG: Much like the favorite basketball game, HORSE, a dog must complete a trick and then another dog must complete the same trick. If that dog fails to do it they get a “D.” The first pet to spell D-O-G is out and concedes the win to his or her pal. However, it’s easy to start again because dogs don’t typically take the loss too hard. Learning new tricks is beneficial to keep pets mentally alert, plus 10 minutes of thinking play can equal 45 minutes of active play so this simple activity can keep pets in shape during the cold winter months. For guidance on how to begin teaching new commands, Petco Certified dog trainers are available to give advice to pet parents at their nearest Petco store.
“Don’t forget other pets can be affected by the cold weather too,” a spokesperson said. “Keep them happy by ensuring they have everything they need to stay healthy. Rabbits love chew toys, hamsters love to run in wheels and reptiles may like to curl up near their heat lamp for extra warmth.”