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  • Writer's pictureLisa Buchanan

Puppy Insights: Spring enrichment for dogs and their humans!

In my area of the world, spring time is basically March, April and May. Most dog owners know that means:


A)       Having a towel by the door to wipe paws and possibly give a bath

wet dog after a bath held by a woman

B)       Being on the lookout for skunks before the dog finds one

C)      Probably having to change what kind of footwear we are using several times a day (rain, snow, dry, etc.)

 

This time of year really pushes my ability to be flexible in my plans for exercising and playing with the dogs. It could be t-shirt weather one day, a snowstorm the next and even from one to the other in the same day! Just when we get into a routine of where and when we want to walk or play something changes. It could even be Daylight Savings! All of a sudden it’s too dark to walk as early in the morning as we were walking the day before. It's challenging when the weather changes frequently.


The wonderful flip side of this is that the weather changes frequently! Yes, I know I repeated myself. As much of a challenge as it can be, it’s also a blessing. There aren’t days and days of the exact same weather – boring! I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about what I’ve been enjoying about spring time with dogs and thought I would share with you in the blog:

a dog tick

1.        Early Morning Field Walks – this is one of my favourite parts of spring because often the ground is still pretty frozen which takes care of the mud that will soften up later in the day! I also don’t have to worry about most biting insects yet. We still check for ticks since it’s been so mild this year. We found one on Churro in January!!



2.        Enrichment Festivals – these are so cozy! Get out the enrichment toys and have a little fun fest! I love to take at least five different activities out and let the pups move from one to the next however they like. I can have a snuffle mat, a couple of rolling treat balls, some toilet paper tubes to shred, and pillow case tied up with food to search for. If your room looks like the picture on the right when your puppy is finished then you did it correctly

dog in a room with various enrichment toys and activities


a room with shredded cardboard and various dog enrichment activities that are finished












3.        Tricky Tuesdays – For my clients, I create activity sheets so they have some fun practice games to make training enjoyable for everyone! We call it a “Choose Your Own PawVenture”. I should probably trademark that somehow but I’ll just count on my readers to remember I coined the phrase! These are designed to take 3-5 minutes of time a few times a day. Look about a new trick or game you can play with your dog. There are tons of resources available. Some of my favourites are Susan Garrett's Dogs That!, Kyra Sundance Do More With Your Dog and also anything by Kiko Pup on YouTube!

 

4.        Braving the Elements – I used to be a pretty “fair weather” kind of a girl. If it looked wet outside, I assumed it was a hurricane. Since having dogs to take outside I’ve realized that rarely is it actually that horrible! It’s incredible how many times in a rainy day that the showers will lighten up or the wind will die down a little bit. My best advice is to just get the right clothing. I’ve got water proof comfortable footwear, many jackets, and quick dry or lined pants! Remember to get something with pockets for your puppy treats. I love a lot of the Shambhala line from Marks.com. If you can find the right clothes, you won’t miss so much of what Spring has to offer.


I hope this blog post brings some light into what can seem like a gloomy time while we wait for the dog days of summer!






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