Most dogs love snow, particularly when they first experience it as a puppy. They jump and pounce at it, trying to understand what it is. Some try to eat it but can’t figure out why it disappears so quickly.
You can have lots of fun playing with your dog when the snow is deep or has drifted into snowbanks. Get their favourite toy or a stick and run away from them through the snow shouting their name. As they jump through the drifts, they’ll have great fun trying to catch you – and get exercise at the same time.
Once they catch up to you, throw their toy or stick and watch them chase it, trying to find and retrieve it (be sure you see where it lands though, as you may also have to join in the hunt if it sinks into the snow).
Snowballs are even more fun than plastic balls. ‘Catch and Chomp’ is a favourite game, particularly amongst retrievers. Make a snowball (not too hard or icy though) throw it and watch your dog return with a mouth full of melting snow and a funny look on his face.
‘Snowball Toss’ is fun for most dogs too; see if your dog can intercept the snowball as it’s thrown between you and another person.
Hide and seek is a classic – especially just after a good snowfall or with snow banks. It’s a good hide and seek game when you hide yourself but it is obviously better if there are two of you; one to hide and one to give the command to find.
If you’re going sledging with the kids, take your dog along too. Hold him back as they set off down the hill and then let him go to chase after them. Tell them to be careful that he doesn’t get in the path of the sledge though. Some dogs even love being a passenger but this is best on gentle slopes for safety.
There are some things to remember to keep your games safe.
Although most dogs love snow, some can be scared by it so don’t force them to go out walking in it or you’ll make things worse. If they are slender or shorthaired, ensure their body temperature stays comfortable. If they wear a coat, make sure it is weatherproof and waterproof as wet fabric is uncomfortable and can give them a chill.
Check the snow doesn’t form into hard balls between the pads of their paws or form into ice on their legs and tummy, don’t keep them outside too long and dry them off thoroughly when they get back indoors.
Have fun in the snow, but don’t let your dog get overtired, cold or dehydrated. Also carry fresh water with you in case they need a drink. Have a good time but stay safe!