The winter months here in the Midwest can be a long, cold, and often boring time for most anyone.
Going to work as the sun is rising and getting home as it is setting, starts to take a toll on everyone. One family member that often gets overlooked throughout these months is your gundog. Think about how he or she feels when all it sees of you is during the dark hours of the day. This is a time that as a pet owner, you have to make a conscience effort to spend quality time with your pet. One way to help this is to take it out on an area lake when possible.
Lakes are abundant in many parts of the upper Midwest and provide a great opportunity for activities for many outdoor enthusiasts. During the winter months these lakes freeze giving dog owners a chance to enjoy the open areas that these frozen waters provide. When doing so, try and remember to take along your pet who needs to get out of the house as much as you do!
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are a couple ways to get exercise for both you and your pet. Not only is it great exercise for your dog, it may help you get out and feel refreshed as you enjoy an afternoon workout. If you are anything like me, I know I could handle shedding a few of those extra holiday pounds!
Recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles and ATV’s, can also be utilized on many area lakes. After making sure the ice is safe, allow your dog to come out on a run as you drive around on the ice and snow. Start out with short trips so that your dog does not wear himself out right away. Obvious safety issues are important to factor in, and make sure to find out local laws and regulations before riding upon any frozen body of water.
Take Your Dog Ice Fishing
One of my favorites winter activities is ice fishing. Being an outdoorsman, I cannot think of a better way to spend a nice winter day but to be out trying to catch fish through the ice. I try to bring my hunting companion with me any time I do so. When the fishing gets slow, I like to take “Bumper” out of the truck and let him enjoy the large, open play area that the lake provides.
Throwing dummies often help provide a spark in the lull of any slow fishing day. If you do have fish that have been caught, keep them in an enclosed container so your dog does not eat your potential fish fry. Also make sure your dog is under control so it does not bother other anglers who may not enjoy your dog as much as you do.
January and February seem to always drag along. Not only do we feel this way as humans, dogs too will get the feeling of boredom and often neglect during this time.
Try some of these outdoor winter activities that not only will get you out of the house, but will give you a chance to keep that bond going between you and your pet.
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Jason Dommeyer has a lifetime of hunting experience and 15 years experience as a dog trainer. He has turned many pets into expert hunting dogs at Cannon River Kennels (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/) In addition to training hundreds of hunting companions, he has trained dogs for premier pheasant hunting lodges in South Dakota along with duck hunting lodges in Mississippi and Mexico. His experience also includes both hunting and guiding for upland and waterfowl game from Canada to South America. For more information on training your dog with Cannon River Kennels, call 507-663-6143 or visit (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/) He will write weekly on dog training tips.