Brrrrrrrrr....January is here with a vengeance eh?
Storms, snow fall, freezing rain and all that good stuff. Enough to make you want to stay in bed, wrap yourself up in a big thick fleece and sit drinking tea all day while watching re-runs of Downton Abbey on Netflix, isn't it?
But what about your animals? Your dog loves to sleep in front of the fire as much as you do, but unlike you he doesn't have a TV that speaks dog, can't understand all that garble on the radio and let's face it, even the cleverest dog on the planet can't read a book.
So, he needs something to look forward to, something to occupy his mind.
Firstly, just because it's cold doesn't mean he can't go out and have fun, you just need to make sure he has a nice well padded jacket if he's short haired, or a decent fleece if he's long haired. 'Tailored' jackets don't tend to be as comfortable for most dogs as fleeces, which have plenty of stretch and movement while staying fairly close fitting, so for an active dog that would be my first choice.
Secondly, keep outside excursions short but often.
Here at the Ranch it's a cold winter morning and yet all the dogs are raring to go, desperate to get out and blow off some steam.
Those that will wear coats have them on, those that won't, we will be keeping a closer eye on to make sure that as soon as they stop moving with speed, they are taken back inside in the warm.
On a morning like this 35 minutes is enough for everyone to have a good stretch, party (like it's 1999) and then run back inside.
Normally we have everyone out for almost 2 hours in the morning, but not in this weather, it's too long.
So instead, we do shorter runs but more of them, utilizing all of the Ranch- the field this morning, then 'Dingly Dell' at lunchtime, then the big huge shed up at 'Lookout Mountain' early this afternoon, followed by a pee or potty in the play yards later this afternoon; each new environment and the critters therein bringing their own unique brand of stimulus.
We want to keep them engaged because the devil makes work for idle hands to do! Honestly, boredom in a boarding facility is our number one enemy just as it is for you at home.
Bored dogs have too much time to focus on maybe mum and dad not being round, or to get pissed off with Max when he's licking his feet, or to get snippy at Pookie who likes the sound of her own voice when there's a siren going off down the road, or even to get a bit too interested in that thread pulled on the rug......get the gist?
Carefully interchanging rest periods and adventure periods in appropriate time allotments keeps all of this at bay. The dogs are stimulated, then rested, on a rotating basis all day until bedtime.
Food is served nice and warm -not hot, because that would harm the mucosal lining of the stomach. Even if you feed kibble instead of fresh food, you can warm up some bone broth and pour that over the food to soften it, give it a dollop of extra flavor and give them that warm comfortable feeling as they eat, kind of like you do when you eat a bowl of stew.
Time that we would normally spend outside on longer off leash runs is instead, in this weather, spent doing other things....massages, brushing, indoor fun where the dogs get to explore all the rooms of the facility.
Here, we don't shut the dogs in all day and night because it's cold, we just manage their exposure to it.
You can do the same at home.
If you wanted to do nothing but sit on your ass all day and drink tea whenever the weather turns chilly, well, you should have thought of that sooner and bought yourself a pet rock!
As it is, you've got a living breathing thing that needs exercise, stimulus and to be engaged.
So get your boots on, wrap up warm and get your ass out there!
You know it's good for you too!