There is no such thing as the winter blues when you own a dog
Winter is here, which means our group classes are on hold until Spring of 2020. We can't begin announcing those classes until we know how long this winter will hold on for. I'm definitely not complaining about the weather this year. We had a spring, lots of thunderstorms and a decent fall. I wasn't expecting snow to fall this early, but it is a beautiful sight!
Now on to what's new for us! We are now accepting credit card payments via Square. I am going to begin implementing automatic text/email confirmations for all private consults and lessons from this point forward. As always, cash and check are preferred, but it's time to get up-to-date with my methods. I am now also offering eGift Cards - just in time for the holiday season! These can be purchased on the home screen of the website. Your patience is greatly appreciated as I learn this new system!
Winter can be a difficult time getting out and training our dogs. It's cold, sometimes icy, sometimes snowy and can be difficult for those of us with arthritis issues. I know I would rather hibernate than go for a walk with my dog. Good news is that there are a variety of exercises and mental stimulating games to play with your dog, inside the warmth and comfort of your own home, and such doesn't require a huge amount of space or energy on your part. Mental stimulation/calming exercises are just as important as physical exercise. When a dog is tired mentally, you will see less behavior issues. As always, it's important to adapt the impulse control exercises into your dogs every day life and activities. This means your dog must sit and wait to be released before getting what it wants. This goes for: being fed, putting on/taking off the leash, going through a threshold outside/inside, going up/down the stairs, giving a treat, throwing a toy, getting in/out of the car, going in/out of the crate, etc. Anything goes. By implementing these exercises, your dog will look at you more for direction and learn patience and calming behaviors.
Basic obedience should still be done throughout your dogs entire life - even if you manage to get in 5 minutes throughout the day. I always encourage using your dogs kibble for a 15 minute training exercise during each meal. Make your dog work! If you are bored with the routine, add in tricks, shaping, clicker, or something new. There are no limits when it comes to training.
Any time a dog can use it's nose, you are giving your dog a job to do. This can be done through nose work for essential oils. I find the biggest issue faced with nose work is not cross-contaminating the oils. It's easy and fun for both you and your dog once you can figure it out! Rear-end awareness/stretching is also a great way to introduce more exercise to your dog. While you don't need a lot of space, teaching dogs to spin and letting them be more aware of their back end is beneficial to all dogs. All you need is a rubber tub and you can take things from there.
Teaching 'place' is also a great exercise for dogs, as they learn they don't have to be on the go 24-7. Dogs actually need more rest than we realize, and this also creates a calm time for those of you with two or more dogs. Possibilities for indoor activities are not limited. Be creative and have fun with your dog! Hope you have a great winter and happy training!