Now that cold weather has set in, you may be wondering if it is okay to continue training your dog in the snow. The season can be a good one for training, as long as you follow a few safeguards for both you and your pet to keep everyone safe. Check out our dog training tips in the snow to get started!
Dog Training Tips in the Snow: Keeping Your Pet Safe
Some dogs may be susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite depending on their age, health or breed. Check your dog often for signs of shivering or blistering that might accompany these conditions. On extremely cold days, it is probably best to limit your training to indoor activities and use the outdoors for only the most basic needs.
Stay away from chemicals. Car antifreeze and ice melt can both attract and harm dogs. Ethylene Glycol contained in antifreeze is poison, but it has a sweet taste that will appeal to dogs. Ice melt can irritate the pads of dog’s feet, so make sure to wash off their feet when they come indoors. Dogs that are lower to the ground or with long fur might need to have their bellies cleaned as well.
Train your dogs to allow you to dry his feet when they come in from outside. Reward your dog for being patient while you make sure that the pads are intact and that no ice has built up between the toes. Make it a part of your routine and they will become much calmer about it.
Teaching your dog commands like “leave it” and “come” will help you to protect your pet from hazards that they may come across while out for a walk. If there would happen to be spilled antifreeze or another object buried in the snow, the “leave it” command will tell your dog that he should walk away from the hazard, even if he might be interested because of the smell or taste. The “come” command will help you to keep your dog near you when there is an unsafe condition like partially frozen ponds or lakes or another hazard like we spoke about before.
Chilly weather can be a deterrent to your pet wanting to go outside, but if you greet each opportunity with enthusiasm, it will encourage your dog as well. Giving extra dog treats during walks or games can make your pet more excited about being outdoors. The more movement that you and your pet have, the warmer you will be.
Dress your puppies. Smaller dogs will love being dressed in sweaters, coats and boots when on their outdoor excursions. Waterproof materials are great for days that might be especially sloppy and wet. Make sure that both their backs and tummies are covered.
Finally, remember that staying warm in the winter requires your dog to expend more energy. Food intake may need to be increased – make sure that you have provided plenty of food and have clean water always available. Winter weather tends to be drying as well, especially with indoor heating drying out indoor air.
Outdoor training can continue as long as you keep these dog training tips in mind. Remember, if you are cold, your dog probably is too! Sometimes the best thing that you can do is move the training session indoors for that day. There will come a day soon when you can spend countless hours outside!
Do you have any other dog training tips for winter training? Share them in the comments!