How to keep your dog from going squirrelly in a cold snap

The Calgary area has been a bit frigid for a while now, and dogs can get a little squirrelly if they don't get walks as often as they'd like.

Certified trainer tell owners there are 'tons of other things you can do'

Certified dog trainer Karlee Ainslie has some ideas for working with dogs indoors, when it gets really cold outside. Working the mind is as important as working the body, she says. (Jasmine Jones/Submitted by Karlee Ainslie)

The Calgary area has been a bit frigid for a while now, and dogs can get a little squirrelly if they don't get walks as often as they'd like.

So what do you do until the weather warms up?

Keeping the dog's brain engaged is just as important, a certified dog trainer says.

"There is no reason for you to feel guilty. There are tons of other things you can do with your dog," Karlee Ainslie of For Dog's Sake YYC told The Homestretch.

Some dogs don't care about the ice and cold but some do, so maybe indoor activities can fill in some of that time normally used for long walks.

Watch this video of 10 tricks you can easily teach your pup:

Sit, Rover. Good boy.

"Trick training," Ainslie said. "You can teach your dog to do something fun. Some easy tricks you can try are high five, shake a paw, roll over, crawl, spin and play dead. Those are the easiest."

And it doesn't have to be a huge time investment.

"Depending on the complexity, it can be anywhere from five minutes to a couple of days, but for most of these tricks it can be five minutes. There are tons of resources on YouTube or you could go to a class or you could make it up as you go."

But keep the training at a level where it's productive for your dog and for you.

Toys can be learning tools too, like the Kong, left, or a puzzle by Outward Bound. Some toys make the dog forage for the food, rather than just eating it from a bowl. (kongcompany/Instagram, Outward Bound)

"I recommend between five to 10 minutes, two or three times a day. Our dogs just can't really handle much more than that. If they are tired, they are not learning properly, they are not absorbing it. We want to keep all our training sessions short," Ainslie said.

"It won't replace physical exercise but mental stimulation is just as important. We want to make sure our dog's brains are worked just as much as their bodies."

Toys can be a nice distraction

Try out some common toys for a nice distraction, she said, such as the Kong, Kong Wobbler, snuffle mats or test out a puzzle from Outward Hound.

"Those are all valid choices. They make the dog forage for their food instead of just eating it out of a bowl," she said. "That uses their brain, too. You can also make your own."

Listen to the full interview with the certified dog trainer:

With files from Jenny Howe and The Homestretch


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