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Rather than cooping up your dog all winter, take him on outings with you during the week. A date with your canine can be as easy as taking him to a dog-friendly pet store to choose a chew or toy. Pooch-friendly coffee shops welcome dogs with treats. Give the treat to your canine while he is secured in the backseat of your car with a seatbelt or inside a crate. Drop by your veterinary office for a social visit and have the receptionist give your dog a cookie. Arrange a visit to a friend’s front door for a treat, or invite friends to your home to interact with your dog. Consider having a dog walker come exercise your pooch if you can’t safely do it yourself. Most dogs can comfortably be walked outside for short periods when the right precautions are made, such as wiping paws off after walks.
Dog-friendly canines benefit from play dates. Consider arranging play dates with your dog’s favorite friends, which can be done right in your backyard or at pet-friendly parks. Even when the weather outside is frightful, dog park loyalists are still braving the cold. Dog parks can give your dog both off-leash exercise and interaction with other canines. Doggy day cares are another way to give your dog interaction while you’re away from home or when you just need a break.
Never underestimate the power of the homemade agility course.Create obstacles for your dog to navigate, much like he would on an agility course. Use chairs as weave poles for your dog to navigate around. Line other chairs up and toss a blanket over the top to create a makeshift tunnel for your dog to run under. A broomstick fixed over a couple of buckets or a hula hoop held in your hands can serve as a jump. Teach your dog to propel through obstacles using a hand target, and reward with plenty of praise and treats. Take short breaks between obstacles to do obedience work, such as puppy push-ups. The obedience work will keep your dog listening to you and give him a mini workout. As an added bonus, hand targeting allows for additional exercise by getting your dog moving between people for a reward.
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