Frosty the Snow-Dog: Getting Your Dog to LOVE Snow

We’re all waiting for the first snowfall of the season, dreaming of snowball fights and sledging competitions. Most of us want to be able to share in the fun with our dogs – there’s nothing quite like seeing your fur-baby run around in the snow with a goofy grin on their face! But whilst some dogs take to snow straight away, a lot of our pups can actually be scared of it when they first experience it.

To make sure your pup can relax and have fun in the snow, make sure you follow these steps before charging out to build a snowman.

 1) Let your dog experience the snow falling before it settles.

This may not always be possible, but letting your dog be outside when the snow is falling (and before it’s sticking to the ground) can be a gentle way to introduce them to the snow. Take lots of treats with you, and play games with them whilst you’re outside.

If the snow is coming down heavily, why not try sitting by the window with them, so they can just watch it and take it all in? 

2) Bring a small amount of snow inside first

Once the snow has stuck to the ground outside, it can be a lot for a dog to take in. The world as they know it looks and smells different, and everything is freezing cold and wet! Bringing in a small tray of snow can be a good way to show them what it is, without overwhelming them. A washing up bowl is perfect for this if you have one! Simply take it outside, fill it with snow, and bring it back in. Sit on the floor with the bowl, keeping some treats to hand. If your dog approaches you, praise and reward them enthusiastically. Reward them again if they go to sniff or investigate the bowl of snow. Try scattering some treats on the surface of the snow too. If your dog is acting confident with the snow, and eagerly approaching, you can poke some treats a little into the snow (don’t go too deep as you don’t want their nose to get too cold!).

 If your dog isn’t approaching you for this, that’s okay! They may just need a little longer to build up their confidence with the weird wet and cold stuff. Instead of waiting for them to approach the bowl of snow, simply reward them for looking at it for now. Make sure you throw the treats to them, instead of asking them to come to you for the treats, as this could make them more worried. Over time, their confidence will grow, and they should start to tentatively approach you – celebrate this choice with them by giving them a jackpot (3-4 treats, one straight after the other!).

3) Take it slowly

If your dog has been confident with the bucket of snow inside, it’s a good sign that they’re ready to tackle the real thing outside. It’s important to not rush this step, as doing so could undo all your work! Open the door, but hang back with your dog – don’t rush off without them. If they interact with or step onto the snow at any time, reward them! If not, let them just look and take it in for now.

As their confidence increases, they may take a couple of steps out into it. Again, reward them for this decision! At this point, you can try to play a game with them – pick something you know they already love. If they enjoy chasing a ball, throw one a little distance. If they’re more of a tugger, play a game of tug-of-war. If they engage with you, it’s a good sign that they’re happy with the snow! If not, give them a little more time and practise the earlier steps for a little longer.

 

All dogs take to snow at different speeds. Don’t be put out if your pup is a little more timid with it – be understanding that it can be a very weird thing for them, and afford them patience and time to get used to it. Some dogs may never enjoy the snow, and that’s okay too! Give them a nice and cosy bed inside whilst you enjoy the snow without them.

If you find that your dog is a lover of snow, enjoy!! Try throwing some snowballs for them to catch, or give them little treasure troves of treats in the snow that they can dig up!

 

Do you have any more tips for our community of dog lovers? Or do you have any funny stories of your dog in the snow? Let us know by commenting below!

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