Autumn is well and truly underway, and it’s already starting to feel like winter. The evenings are getting shorter and darker, which can bring about many challenges. It can be difficult to keep your dog both physically and mentally stimulated, not to mention the other hazards that might arise around this time of year. Check out our winter survival guide with our top tips to help you and your dog face the upcoming months…
1. Scatter Feeding
Scatter feeding can be a great way to mentally stimulate your dog and make them work for their food. Instead of just giving them their bowl of food to quickly gulp down, take their kibble (remember to still measure it out) and scatter it in the garden, on the patio or even around the kitchen floor. This will also help their mealtime to last a bit longer.
2. Scent work
Playing scent games can be a great way to keep your dog’s mind busy. Show them their favourite toy, tell them to wait while you hide it up, then get them to find it. Some dogs are more food orientated, so you can always hide up bits of their favourite Skinner’s kibble around the house for them to search out (don’t forget to take this out of their daily food allowance). You can read more about this in our previous blog “Creating and enriched environment”.
3. Practice commands and obedience
With the country in lockdown again, many of us will be finding ourselves with more time on our hands. Make the most of this time by using it to teach your dog some new tricks. Practicing obedience and learning new commands can be a great way for your dog to let out an excess energy. Check out some of these training videos by Jason Mayhew of things that you could try with your dog.
4. Walk dogs earlier in the day
The autumn and winter months are often times of parties and celebrations. Whilst they might be a little different to normal this year, it’s still important to be aware of unusual noises that might be going on in the evening; fireworks for example. It’s a good idea to walk your dog earlier on in the day, to avoid any unexpected scares!
5. Puzzle feeding
Our kibble can also be used in puzzle feeders, and they’re a great way to slow down speedy eaters. They help mealtimes to last longer, whilst also providing mental stimulation; not to mention they’re great fun!
6. Stay visible, stay safe
The dark nights can make it difficult for road users to see you when out on a dog walk. If you do walk them in the dark, them remember to make sure you can be seen by traffic. It’s road safety awareness week in a few weeks, so keep an eye out for our blog which is coming soon where we will be giving more advice on how to stay safe.
7. Security of kennels
Whether your dog is kept in a kennel or in the house, it’s important to check the security of where they are kept. Unfortunately, dog theft is on the rise, which means you need to be extra conscious of their safety. Read or blog “Keeping your dog safe” to read more of our advice on this.
8. Discover new walks
Many dogs go for the same walk each day. Although this is stimulating them physically, they may not be getting much mental stimulation. In the current lockdown, we are still allowed to go out for a walk. Use this as a chance to find new walks near you, where your dog will discover new and exciting smells!
9. Practice heelwork
Why not use this time to sharpen up on your heelwork. Not sure where to start with practicing it with your dog? Jason Mayhew has put together a helpful video which you can try at home with your four-legged friend. Don’t forget to tag us on social media in your videos of what you and your dog have achieved!
10. Be careful around frozen water
You’ve may have already noticed a crisp frost on the ground in the mornings. With the weather getting colder, we may even get some ice. Remember to keep your dog on a lead when around ponds and lakes if they’re frozen over to avoid any nasty accidents.
We hope you find these tips helpful, and don’t forget to tag us on social media in your photos and videos of your dogs learning new tricks, practising scent work and different types of feeding. You may even feature on our page!