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  • Kathlyn Lawrence of All Jazzed Up Pet Services LLC

5 Winter Activities To Do With Your Dog

Winter is the most wonderful time of the year. It's filled with traditions, and memories. With our pets being such large parts of our lives, here are some ways they can be involved in the holiday fun!


#1 DIY Paw Print Ornament

The purrfect keepsake.


Salt Dough

Ingredients:

1 cups of flour

1/2 cup of salt

1/2 cup of water


Supplies:

Drinking straw

Cookie cutter or drinking glass

Acrylic paints/ brush (optional)

Twine or holiday ribbon

Parchment paper

Baking sheet


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degree F.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until dough forms.

  3. Roll out dough on floured surface to approx 1/2" thickness.

  4. Use the cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

  5. Gently press pet's paw in the center of your shape. Make sure to lift their paw straight up off the shape when finished.

  6. Use the drinking straw to poke a hole at the top of the shape.

  7. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

  8. Put the shapes on the parchment paper and place in the oven at 200 degree F for 2 hours.

  9. Let cool completely.

  10. (Optional) Paint

  11. Thread ornament with twine or ribbon


Paint/Ink Pad

Supplies:

Paint OR mess free ink pad Paper

(Optional) Marker

(Optional) Clean up supplies- tarp, baby wipes, foot bath, etc


Directions:

  1. Decide on what you will be creating. Will it be a snowman? Christmas tree? Mistletoe? Reindeer? Santa? Christmas ball?

  2. Decide if you will be using washable finger paint or a mess free ink pad. If your dog has longer hair on their feet, you may want to trim it for a better print.

  3. If going the paint route, lay out your clean up supplies and prep your paint. Make sure you lift their paw straight up to prevent smudges.

  4. When fully dry add any accents (carrot and sticks, Christmas balls, bow, antlers, Santa hat, etc to make your creation complete.



#2 Holiday Packaging Enrichment Activities

Dogs are scavengers and foraging for food is a natural behavior. Many unwanted behaviors come from natural instincts dogs have that are unpleasant or annoying to humans. Make sure you are full filling their needs, so they don't have to take it upon themselves. Here are some fun and easy activities to do with your furry friend:

  • Stuff wrapping paper tubes with treats or dry food. You can fold the ends of the tube or use scraps of wrapping paper or packing paper to plug the ends.

  • Use scraps of wrapping paper or packing paper and make balls to hide treats or dry food.

  • Cut wrapping paper tubes in to segments and crisscross the segments to form balls. Stuff with treats or dry food, but they are also fun on their own.

  • Toss treats or dry food into an empty box or paper bag. You can add wrapping paper scraps, wrapping paper tubes, packing paper, smaller boxes, toys, etc into the box to create a different challenge.

  • Encourage your dog to get in and out of the box. If you do not have a large enough for your dog, encourage them to place their feet in or on top of (if sturdy enough) the box.

  • Toss some dog treats and/or some of your dog's toys into a cardboard box or old gift bag/paper bag. Wrap the box and encourage your dog to unwrap it. This is a great way for your dog to find their new gifts under the Christmas tree.

  • Hide a dog treat or toy under a small box in your dog's presence. Encourage your dog to find it. Next, put a treat under a small box, and add a slightly larger box on top. encourage your dog to find it. Then, add 3 stacked boxes, then 4, then 5, etc.

Remember that enrichment activities are for more then just dogs. Other animals enjoy enrichment too.

**Please always make sure to supervise your pet when doing enrichment activities.


#3 DIY Advent Calendar

Advent Calendars are so fun! Get your pooch or feline in on the fun too! You can always purchase a reusable advent calendar and swap out the human treats for pet friendly ones (treats or toys), but what is the fun in that? There's many options on what to use as treat capsules. Use one or multiple different capsules types:

  • Small drawstring favor bags

  • Cardboard tubes with the sides folded or wrapped in tissue paper or wrapping paper

  • Small boxes

  • Paper bags or gift bags (remove the string)

  • Party hats (remove the string)



#4 Winter Training Games

Winter brings cold weather and snowy conditions, which can make exercising your dog a little difficult. Here are some games to play with your best pal:

  • Sniff Blanket- Take a blanket, and put it on the ground. Scatter treats or dry food on the blanket and bunch it all up. Let your dog use their noes to sniff out the treats!

  • Surface Work- Pick simple commands, such as sit, and have your dog do it on a different surface or a different place. This game helps dogs understand that no matter where they are, they can always listen to us.

  • Focus Level- Ask your dog to do a command, such as heel. Count to 1, and reward. Ask your dog to do the same command as before. This time count to 2, and reward. After this, do it for a count of 3, 4, 5 and so on. This game is a great gage on how focus your dog is on you.

  • The Whisper Game- Ask your dog to preform easy behaviors they already know- but do so quietly in a whisper.

  • Silent Night Recall- Toss a treat on the ground. Then wait for your dog to look at you and give them a couple of treats. Repeat a few times. Now toss a treat on the ground. Move a couple feet away as your dog is eating it. When they look at you and comes to you, reward a lot. Keep increasing the distance until you are able to slip behind a corner.

  • Position Game- Give your dog an easy command while you are in an unusual position, such as sitting in a char, standing on one leg, facing a wall, etc. If that goes well, make yourself lower, such as sitting or kneeling down. ask for another command. if that is successful, get even lower. This is challenging for the dog because they are so used to looking at us.

  • Peekaboo- Give your dog a command while you cover your eyes. The less your dog can read your face, the more they have to listen just to your words.

  • Nonsense Words- Rattle off several nonsense words in a row, and then insert a command (example: car, blue, green, sit). Reward your dog for responding to your actual command and not your nonsense words. This game teaches your dog to listen attentively to your commands.

  • Leg Hop- Sit on the ground facing a wall or something you can rest your foot on with your leg resting on the ground as a hurdle. With your dog standing on one side of your leg, toss a treat over your leg to the other side making sure your dog steps over your leg. Repeat. Gradually, raise your leg making it harder for your dog. For safety reasons, this game needs to be played on a soft surface.

  • No Name Game- During your dog's training session, do it without saying their name. We tend to over use our dog's names and tests your dog's focus.

  • Clapping Game- Ask your dog to preform commands while you are continuously clapping your hands. This is a big distraction for your dog.

Remember that enrichment activities are for more then just dogs. Other animals enjoy enrichment too.

**Please always make sure to supervise your dog when doing enrichment activities.


#5 Make Treats!

In most homes, it is a holiday tradition to make holiday cookies, so why not make some for your pooch too?


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