With most hunting seasons now closed keeping your dog active throughout the winter can be a challenge. Cold, ice, wind, and snow can be a major deterrent for us but rarely is it a turnoff for our furry companions. Perhaps a few of these fun activities will motivate you to spend some more time in the outdoors with your furry family member and fight cabin fever.
Gun dogs tend to enjoy “playing fetch” and the snow offers some resistance that they otherwise would not have. There’s something about retrieving in the snow that dogs really get fired up about!
Walk in the Park
Go for a walk on some of the local walking trails provided by our local parks service. It may take a little scouting to find the ones that are maintained during the winter months but they are out there. Remember to keep your dogs leashed.
Does Your Dog Like to Pull
If your dog enjoys pulling then ordering a pulling harness could give you both some fun and accomplish some tasks. Attaching the donned harness to a sled could provide a way to transport wood for the wood stove( if you have one), or haul snow from the drive way, or tote around the kids in the yard. Some people have trained their dogs to pull them around on cross country skis. This activity is called ski joring. Quick detach leads are a must if things become a little sideways.
Snowshoeing on private or public land can be a fun activity when the snow is deep. Many gun dogs revel in the idea of leaping through the snow over and over much like when they are running in the water. It also offers you a chance to check out those new hunting areas for the next bird season.
Dog Play Dates
Often just getting together with your hunting buddies who also have gun dogs can allow the dogs the opportunity to engage in polite and appropriate socialization skills in a controlled environment. This works well in a fenced in area with dogs that are familiar with each other and are of similar age and athletic ability. It does require constant supervision to make sure they are maintaining proper behavior.