I'm overwhelmed looking back on what a great year 2013 has been for us. It's absolutely amazing how many adventures we were able to experience! Charlie and I have become a perfect hiking team and we both enjoy hitting the trails and spending time in nature. I hope 2014 has more of the same in store for us!
Part of the reason that I've been reviewing our old trail reports is because the weather has been brutally cold, preventing us from being outside, so reminiscing is a good way to get through the winter months. Last Saturday we were able to enjoy an afternoon of hiking on the trails at Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau, but sadly it was one of the few days the weather was decent enough to risk being outside for any amount of time.
Hiking adventures, especially with dogs, can be drastically restricted due to sub-zero temperatures and dangerous wind chills in winter and because cold weather is a problem for a lot of people who want to be active with their dogs, I have a few tips and suggestions for finding indoor activities if you're stuck inside.
1. Get some food dispensing toys to replace the dinner bowl. This will make your dog "work" for their food and help them burn some calories while having fun! My favorite food dispensing ball is the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball - it's a great size, easy to fill, easy to clean and isn't loud when it's rolling on hardwood floors.
VIDEO of Charlie using Omega Paw Treat Dispensing Ball
(with appearance by Leo The House Lion):
2. Work on trick-training! I know not all dogs are into performing tricks, but many high-energy dogs will respond well with a little patience on your part. Use their dinner kibble as "reward" for performing the tricks or another low-calorie treat to prevent excess calories. I love the 101 Dog Tricks book and find it easy enough to use for most dog owners, plus these tricks are great for entertaining friends and family!
3. Play the DOG FOOD GAME! This is a real easy way to feed your dog while getting their heart-rate elevated. Basically spend 5-10 minutes throwing your dog's food to him one kibble at a time while they chase it. My mom even uses this game on her overweight Chihuahua and it works every time!
VIDEO of Charlie playing the Dog Food Game:
4. I'm a big fan of Elk Antlers. When you just need some time to yourself and your dog is bugging you... rather than feed him another chewy or rawhide, invest in some elk or deer antlers. These provide HOURS of chew time and dogs love them! Depending on your dogs chewing habits, antlers can last for years, so they are a good investment!
Hopefully these tips will get you through some cold weather until you can get outside and hit the trails again. If you want to read more about how to deal with a high-energy dog, you can read my article on Dogster.com... click HERE.
Happy New Year everyone!