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Top 15 Things To Do With Your Dog This Fall-Winter

Top 15 Things To Do With Your Dog This Fall and Winter

At Pawtivity.com, our members love to go on adventures with our dogs. Here is our list of the top 15, best things to do with your dog this fall and winter, indoors and outdoors.
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THE BEST OF FALL

 

We love the change of the seasons. It’s nature’s way of keeping things interesting! The colors of fall make for a gorgeous time to love nature again and take some really impressive photos of your dog! Take a break from the normal grind of daily routines and recharge by breathing in the crisp, fresh air of the new season. There are so many fall outdoor activities that you can do with your dog!

 

Doggy Run – October is Adopt A Dog Month and the perfect time to sign up for your first 5k to support your local rescue groups and shelters. There our so many dogs out there that need a loving home. Make a day out of the event! Dress up with your dog in costume. If you can’t run, just walk! You will still be supporting a good cause. Have fun!

Hiking – Enjoy the new change of the season by taking your dog out sniffing and exploring a new hiking trail. The best trails will be the ones that offer the best views of fall foliage. Plan a road trip to a destination hike. Please let your dog stick his head out the window to bite that wind!

Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze It’s the season for a great pumpkin search! There are several dog friendly pumpkin patches. Pick out the best pumpkin to carve at home and enjoy some caramel apples, cider, and pumpkin pie. Have a dog that’s good with his nose? Take him with you to a corn maze! Have fun getting lost together and exploring your way out of the maze! End the day by watching the classic, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” a 1966 television original movie based on Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip and featuring Snoopy and the gang.

Wilderness Camping – The summer heat is finally over! It’s time to spend the entire day outdoors with family and friends. Book a campsite early. There’s so much to do, but whatever you do, involve your dog in all the action! End the day by making him a campfire s’more with dog biscuits and marshmallow. Substitute peanut butter in place of chocolate to make your treat even tastier! Snuggle in for the night and wake up to watch the sunrise together.


EASY SNOW PLAY

 

These activities were meant to be done in your backyard on the perfect snow day! Dogs love to be in the snow.

 

Play “Go Find It” – Have your dog sniff a toy with a treat inside. Next, ask your dog to sit while you go outside and hide the toy or bury the toy loosely outside. Bring your dog outside and tell him to find his toy! “Go Find it!”

Snowball Catch – Does your dog love the snow and playing fetch? Why not play fetch with a snowball? Or, roll a great big snowball and have your dog chase it down the hill.

Obstacle Course / Maze – This works best if there is more than a foot of snow on the ground. Take a shovel and make a maze in the snow. Add some obstacles along the way. You could build a wall for your dog to jump over, a short tunnel to crawl through, and a ramp at the end your dog must climb up to get his final treat!


INDOOR BRAIN GAMES

 

When the weather turns for the worse, it’s time to stay indoors. Get some great one-on-one bonding time with your dog and reinforce those skills toward making your next adventure even better. If you have an active dog, you’ll need to find activities that expend both physical and mental energy to keep your dog from going from good dog to destructive demon. Take the time to hone in on some dog obedience and training!

 

Puzzle Toy – Every dog owner needs at least one puzzle toy, especially since not all of us can be there to entertain our dogs 24-7. One of the best puzzles toys you can get is some crazy, wobbly treat dispensing toy trap. Dogs go nuts for this type of toy because it gives them a challenge and reward at the end. Other puzzle toys, like those created by Nina Ottosson, require that dogs figure out the right moves for a treat. Both types of puzzle toys are a great option to have for indoor play.

Play “Go Find It” – Have your dog sniff a treat. Next, ask your dog to sit while you go into the next room to hide his treat. If your dog is just starting out make it easy – put the treat on the floor by the wall. Call your dog to you and ask him to “Go Find It!” Challenge things up more by adding more treats to find or hiding the treat in harder to find places, such as on a table your dog can get to. An alternative to this game is to hide the treat in one of 3 boxes. Have your dog sniff out the right box and give him an extra treat!

Attend A Class – Now might be the best time to hone in on those obedience skills. The holidays can cause a lot of stress for our dogs. Being cooped up indoors doesn’t help. Many classes are offered indoors, such as agility, swimming, and obedience training. There are even classes and trainers that will help your dog be a better adventure dog. They will teach your dog to be better off-leash, to search and rescue, to “potty”, to walk faster, to stay quiet, or to bark and attack all on command.

Fun Dog Training – If you don’t do it now, you should make it a habit to reinforce basic training into your dog’s daily routines, such as before you feed or walk your dog. We recommend puppy situps (sit, down, sit, come/touch). You can also introduce gestures for basic commands so you don’t have to say a word for your dog to “sit” or “stay.” Or, practice impulse control exercises and see if how still your dog can be as you place objects on his head. Hold a treat above your dog’s head. Every time your dog reaches for it pull the treat back up quickly and lower slowly only when your dog sits again. Lower the treat until you can place the treat on your dog’s nose. Now, give him an “ok” command and let him eat his well-earned treat! What funny things can your dog hold on his nose? Brush off more of those puppy class techniques and get creative! You can make a game out of anything.


WINTER ADVENTURES

 

Don’t stay indoors! Get out and keep active by trying these three outdoor winter activities for dogs that will get your heart pumping and your dog thoroughly happy. As with any winter sport, you need to build up your dog’s stamina and endurance, so start slow. Go on trails you are familiar with or go with someone who is.


Proper gear is required for these activities. While you may already know how to ski, your dog doesn’t have a clue what skis are or how they work. Let your dog inspect your gear and reward him if he takes an interest, but not if he thinks it’s his new toy! Hold up the equipment and move it around. Again, reward only if our dog takes an interest. Finally, put on your gear and try it out for your dog outside.

Snowshoeing – Do you already love hiking or running? Then you’ll probably love snowshoeing, and the best part is that you continue to hike or run without worrying about the snow. Snowshoes are easy to get used to and don’t require you to change much in what you do already. Your dog can just go along happily with you as he’s always done. The low learning curve and ease of snowshoeing has made it one of the fastest growing winter activities.

Cross Country Skiing – This winter sport is best done if your dog is reliable off-leash. Great pre-training for this activity include snowshoeing, hiking, or running off leash. It’s important that your dog stays with your, has reliable recall, and does not cross your path.

Skijoring – Skijoring is a sport that’s reserved for stronger dogs over 30 pounds who can pull you forward on a special hands free leash tied around your waist while you are on cross country skis. Poles are used to help guide and move you along with your dog. To pre-train for skijoring, try canicross or bikejoring in the fall. Remember your dog will be pulling you forward, so have good command of your dog at all times and train him properly to follow a straight line, or at least to stick to the pathway! That means no squirrel chasing. You’ll also have to teach him to stop and go.

Kicksledding / Sleigh Ride – This is another sport that is reserved for stronger dogs who can pull, but one that can also involve your kids! What in the world is a kicksled anyway? Think urban dog sled racing on snow. Dogs pull along a sled that a person can stand on. While the dog pulls, the person kicks back at the ground to give the sled momentum to move forward. Hang on for a ride! Don’t have a kicksled? Have your dog pull you on a sleigh or sled instead. Mush!


WINTER SAFETY

 

Winter snow is fun to play in, but conditions could damage your dog’s paws. First off, make sure your dog is comfortable playing, walking, or running in snow. Some snow is just too deep for some dogs, especially if you are dealing with freshly fallen, loose snow that will tire a dog out too fast.

Always check your dog’s paws periodically when they our outside and go indoors if your dog’s paws start to crack or bleed. Remove any ice balls or snow trapped in the paw. You should use some paw protection such as petroleum jelly, Musher’s Secret paw wax, or booties. When you come indoors, wash and inspect your dog’s paws again.

Your dog needs proper winter attire that will keep him dry and warm. Get him a doggy coat so the two of you can play longer outdoors. The right coat depends on your dog’s sensitivity to the cold and activity level. Some coats will allow for more movement, while others do well to keep dogs warm on a walk. We recommend finding a waterproof winter coat with fleece lining that at least protects your dog’s chest and abdomen. A D-ring on the back is also helpful if you are using a harness on your dog. In addition to a coat, bring along a portable water bowl, food, a quick drying towel, and perhaps a waterproof mat so your dog can rest on the snow comfortably.

Most important of all is to hydrate with fresh water. To prevent water from freezing, use a wide-mouth steel water bottle or thermos and fill it up with warm water, but leave a little room at the top in case some of your water does start to freeze and expand.

Last but not least, don’t leave the human and dog first aid kit at home!

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

 


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Top 10 Ways To Cure Dog Boredom

Dog Bored? Top 10 Ways To Cure Dog Boredom

My dog looks up to me a lot. So, it always makes me feel guilty whenever she sprawls out on the floor with a thud, gives a big sigh, and then stares me down with those sad, bored puppy eyes. All she wants to do is play! Maybe I’m overthinking it, but she would get up in a heartbeat if she saw me with a toy in hand!

So, how do you cure dog boredom?

Dogs need a lot of physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Otherwise, they will look for something to take their frustration and boredom out on, such as chewing up your living room couch, digging out all your new outdoor plants, or barking at anything with legs.

Our dogs have become lazy, or rather we have allowed them to become lazy. Dogs used to work a lot! Many were bred to retrieve prey or herd livestock alongside their humans. All dogs have a natural instinct for scavenging for food.

We simply need to do more with our dogs and give them (and yourself) an active lifestyle! I’m always looking for a fresh way to keep my dog busy and avoid destructive behavior in dogs. Here are some quick tips to keep your dog entertained, happy, active, and challenged.

 

TOP 10 WAYS TO RELIEVE DOG BOREDOM

~As they say, a tired dog is a happy dog.

  1. Walk Somewhere New: Like humans, dogs love a little variety and challenge in their walks or hike. Take them somewhere that has new scents, sounds, and experiences.
  1. Go Out On Errands: Dogs love the car ride too. If you can’t walk, take your dog along with you when you run errands! Crack open the window and let them sniff something new in the air! Never leave your dog in the car if it is too hot outside! Not only will another dog owner give you the stare down, but worse, your dog may have get heatstroke or sustain brain damage.
  1. Sign up for a Pawtivity or Event: Find new ideas to keep your dog active and happy on Pawtivity! Sign up to do something with your dog! Try a new activity you’ve never done before. We love fetch, disc dog / frisbee, and tug. Agility is also a great form of mental and physical exercise that boosts your dog’s confidence and makes them more obedient all-around – it truly is an overlooked form of play for dogs! 15 minutes of disc, agility, or other form of active play at a time truly does wonders – keep your dog wanting to do more and looking to you to play more.
  1. Go To The Dog Park: The dog park is a great way for your dog to socialize with other dogs. Better yet, it’s often free!
  1. Make Your Dog Work For Food: Since dogs used to scavenge for food, why not scatter your dog’s food in the yard and make them find their food? Or lay out small piles of food around the house for them to find. Every time you feed your dog or take your dog on a walk, make them do puppy situps (sit, down, sit, come/touch, look). Practice puppy situps at a farther distance each time. This is great training for better recall and obedience, useful for when your your dog is off leash.
  1. Get a Chew Toy: Dogs love to chew, so get a good assortment of soft and hard chew toys to try out! Carmella can bite through black Kongs, so we love edible dental bones and antler bones. Antler bones last a long time and do double-duty to fight boredom and clean teeth. Note of caution: Find the best chew toy for your dog – start with a soft one. Antler bones should be taken away if you see chipping or breakage. Chew toys that are too hard can fracture your dog’s teeth. We never had a problem with antler bones, but this has to do with they way Carmella works at the bone, she doesn’t just bite down. Tennis balls are not the best chew toys as they can wear down your dog’s teeth enamel and fall apart in pieces large enough to get stuck in your dog’s throat. In all, supervise your dog with their chew toy before deciding which one is best for them.
  1. Invest in Treat Dispensing and Smart Toys: Dogs naturally have a keen sense of smell.  Why not challenge them to use their natural instincts by giving them a puzzle for them to solve?  Treat dispensing and smart toys often involve the use of treats and require supervision. They also come in varying levels of difficulty.
  1. Create Distractions When You are Away: Keep a safe treat dispensing toy around, put on the tv or radio, and keep a chew toy or two around for your dog to play with when you are out.  You can also try giving them frozen treats that will melt over time or put toys in a huge ice mold to leave outside.
  1. Rotate Your Dog’s Toys: This shakes things up a bit and gives more mileage to your dog toys. Dog are like kids – they love the new toy and all want the new toy.
  1. Attend a Basic Dog Training Class:  How will your dog know what you want them to do? Dog owners need the proper training to communicate effectively with their canine companions. Basic commands such as sit, stay, leave it, give, or come serve as building blocks to help you play more with your dog.

 

What are other ways that you can keep a dog busy? We hate to see a dog that is bored. Include a comment below or email us and we will add your suggestion as a pawtivity!

Carol & Carmella
President & Pup, Pawtivity

 


Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on Pawtivity.com or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!

 


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Norman the Scooter Dog

12 Essential Training Tips For Your Puppy

We met with Karen Cobb to interview her about her dog Norman, Pawtivity’s first amazing pup!

 

Norman is a Briard, famous for holding 2 Guinness World Records in riding a scooter and bicycle. Norman can also do a variety of tricks and is active in agility and obedience. This dog has some serious skills and is so polite! He can jump rope, dry off his beard on a towel after drinking, and take a bow. Bravo!

We were interested to learn how Norman became so good at doing tricks. A lot of it came down to being very well socialized with much of that training done while Norman was still a puppy. While Norman is very curious, building socialization and training skills in everyday tasks or games was also essential.

Given that French Sheepdogs are traditionally bred to control and guard sheep, they can be somewhat overprotective or suspicious if not socialized and trained well. Clearly, Karen has done a phenomenal job socializing and training Norman.

Training takes commitment and patience from you and your dog! While Norman learns tricks easily, it did take him some time to ride a bike well. Boy can he ride now!

Start with these puppy foundations and you may find yourself with tomorrow’s dog star. Think of all the wonderful things you can do with your dog given the proper socialization and training. It all starts today to create memories with your dog that last forever.

Karen shares with us 12 very useful tips on how she trained Norman as a puppy. Read on for some great training tips!

Want to learn more about Norman the Scooter Dog? He’s the first of our amazing pups.

Intro by: Carol Chi, Pawtivity


12 Essential Training Tips For Your Puppy

“Every moment awake is a learning experience for your puppy – Make it positive.”
Karen Cobb, Trainer of Norman The Scooter Dog

  1. Greet & Meet People – Your puppy should meet new people every day, and display proper manners. Stand outside the pet store, grocery store or anywhere with high foot traffic (visit different locations every day). Bring some extra tasty treats that can be broken into small pieces. Everyone wants to greet a puppy, so when they ask to pet your dog, ask them to have the puppy sit and then give him/her a treat first. Goal: 10 people per day. Gold Star: 20 people.
  1. Watch Command – Teach your puppy to watch you. Watch is one of the most important behaviors to teach your dog. It’s right up there with sit. Your dog will respond much better to other behavior cues, if he/she’s looking at you and paying attention. Goal: 10 reps, 2x a day.

  1. Dinnertime Manners – Teach your puppy where you want him/her to be during dinnertime. Don’t correct bad table behavior; teach a positive behavior instead. Tether your dog with a harness and leash him/her to a doorknob with his/her bed close by. Every time you sit down for a meal, your dog should go to his/her bed with a toy that hides food inside (like a Kong or Nylabone Romp ‘n’ Chomp). This will help form a lifelong habit of good table manners. Goal: every meal.
  1. Wait Before Leaving – Teach your dog to wait at all doorways. This is a safety issue. If they run out of the house in a frenzy, they can easily run into the street and get hit by a car. They should not exit the house without permission from you. They should let you exit first and wait for a release command, which permits them to cross the threshold. Goal: Every time you exit house.
  1. Leash Behavior – Teach your puppy the correct leash behavior when they see another dog. Do not allow a face to face greeting of two leashed dogs. This is not only confrontational, but also increases the flight or fight reaction, as both dogs are restrained. When approaching another dog, take a treat out of your pocket and show it to your puppy, so they are looking at you. As you pass the other dog, feed your puppy the treat. This will form the behavior of your dog watching you every time another dog passes, instead of the lunging and pulling behavior we see many other dogs display. Try and set this up daily. Goal: 5 dogs a day.
  1. Puppy Play – Your puppy should learn to play with other dogs properly, and with good social skills. Only allow play off leash in a contained area. When dogs are on leash they should be paying attention to you and not pulling toward something else. Allow your puppy daily play with different dogs. Try to set up daily play dates with your friends’ dogs or find a puppy socialization class. Interrupt any dominant play, like mounting, by making a loud noise and redirecting the play toward a ball or other toy. Goal: 3 different dogs a week.
  1. Brush & Bathe – Teach your puppy to not only accept grooming and bathing, but enjoy it. Get brushes out and give a few treats after every few stroke. Touch each toenail and squeeze a little to simulate a nail clipper. This can be stressful to dogs, so have a helper give your puppy a very high value treat, such as peanut butter or wet dog food, while you squeeze your puppy’s toe. Fill the bathtub with 1-2 inches of water and toss some kibble and or toys in the water and let your dog play and bob for kibble. Goal: One of each of the three areas (brushing, nails or bathtub) 1x a week.
  1. Meal Time – It is very easy to avoid resource guarding if you start young. Don’t think, “My puppy doesn’t growl over food, so he never will.” First, have your puppy sit and stay before giving them their food. On a daily basis, interrupt your dog’s meal, by walking to his/her bowl and either placing more food in it or having them sit while you pick up the bowl and add a tasty treat, before returning the bowl to them. This will not only get your dog used to being approached while eating, but also get him/her excited about the possible addition of something special. Goal: 1x per meal.
  1. Noise & Distraction – Introduce your dog to all different sounds, sights, feels, and smells to avoid fear or distraction of anything new later on. Sounds can be a vacuum or truck starting up. Feels can be using different dog brushes to walking on a slippery floor or across a sewer grate. Sights are everywhere from people with a beard and a hat, to someone dressed in a chicken suit. Smells can be walking behind a fast food restaurant to walking through a farm with many animals. Try and introduce your dog at an early age to everything you can possibly imagine them encountering later on. They are so willing to accept new things while puppies, but it gets harder as adults to overcome a fear of the unknown. Goal: 3 exposures a day.
  1. Establish House Rules – Think of the house rules you want your dog to follow when he/she is full size. Be sure to start teaching those rules at the first introduction to the house. If you don’t want your dog on the furniture, do not pick them up as puppies and put them on your lap while sitting on the couch. Instead, sit on the floor with them. Lay aluminum foil on any furniture they may jump on, so they learn it’s not pleasant to be up there (foil makes noise when they touch it and is not as comfortable to lay on). Do you want them sleeping in your bed? If not, do not allow them up there as pups. Teach them to sleep in a crate, next to your bed. Put a comfy bed inside for them. Eventually, graduate to replacing their crate with their dog bed.
  1. Controlled Play – Teach your puppy controlled play. Don’t allow chewing on your arms, but substitute a toy instead. Teach them that you start and end the play. Keep a few toys out, and put the rest out of reach. Rotate the toys you give your dog. Your dog will be more excited to play with any “new” toys you give him/her. If you play tug, make sure you teach your puppy to drop the toy on command and stop tugging before they get if they begin to get too aggressive. about the tugging. Goal: Play everyday as much as you can.
  1. Doorway Behavior – Teach proper doorway behavior from puppyhood. Where do you want your dog to go when a guest rings your front doorbell? It is best to teach a down stay in a room adjacent to the main hallway. Ideally, there would be a floor surface change they could see as a boundary of where to lay down (ex. Have your dog lay on the carpet of the living room, which borders the entrance hallway wooden floor.) In the beginning, ask a helper to get the door while you work closely with your dog. Your dog should stay until you go TO THEM and give a release command. Do not release and allow your dog to greet the visitor when he/she is excited. Instead, walk your dog to a treat jar in the kitchen and give them a treat. This takes the attention off the visitor and puts it on the treat jar. Practice by setting up the situation with a friend ringing the doorbell. Goal: 6 practice doorbell rings per day, and every time a real visitor comes!

 


About Karen & Norman

Karen Cobb, owner and trainer of Norman the Scooter Dog, graduated from University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science.  She has trained dogs for over 20 years, specializing in problem solving, behavior counseling, housebreaking and aggression problems.  She now primarily trains Norman for his live performances and dog sports.  Her goal is to get Norman a leading role in a movie. Learn more about Norman and Karen. Connect with them on Facebook.

 


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