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Winter Boredom Busters

Let's face it, winter in Saskatchewan can be harsh. Bitterly cold temperatures, extreme cold warnings and the fact that it takes 20 minutes just to get bundled up to go out mean you're probably not getting your dog out for as many walks as they're used to. Like humans, dogs benefit greatly from the exercise walks can provide. All of the sights, sounds, smells and other dogs make it the highlight of your dog's day.

So, what do you do when it's the middle of winter in Saskatchewan, your dog is bored and suddenly tearing up your kid's favorite stuffed animal, chasing dragons around the house that only he can see while knocking Great Aunt Carol's fine china off the credenza but you can't take him for a run because the air hurts your face?! Good news, a mental challenge can cure your dog's boredom, tire them out and finally give you some peace and quiet so you can sew up that stuffed animal and try to superglue Aunt Carol's china back together (again).

1. The Shell Game

This is an easy, classic game you can play with items you already have at home. All you need is three cups (paper or plastic are ideal, as long as it's not clear), a treat and a dog (or cat).

Let your dog watch you put the treat under one of the cups, spin them around a bunch, not too fast at first, and then let him try to choose which one he thinks has the snack. He may nose at the cup, paw it, or just chomp it, depends on the dog. If he chooses the right cup, he gets the snack! If he doesn't choose the right cup, go for another round.

Once he has the hang of it, you can make it more challenging by moving the cups faster, not letting him sniff it before choosing, or for expert level put a treat under one cup and decoy items under the other two and see if he can pick it out!

This game is fun for the whole family and challenges your dog to problem solve.

2. Hide and Seek