This by far as been the longest, most miserable, cruddy (you get the idea) winter! I have spent far too much time inside my house, and my dogs…especially the Border Collies would agree! So if you are in the same boat as we are and are stuck inside because you just can't stand being cold anymore, what can you do to keep your dogs happy and mentally and physically stimulated? First, there is an awesome toy I found that is a particular favorite of my Borders…It's called the Woof Stick http://www.woofstick.com This is essentially a "kitty fishing pole" toy for dogs. It's durable, and it's a hoot to watch dogs chase the toy on the string. It was developed for a dog that needed to burn off some energy and has been now purchased by shelters all over the US to help stimulate dogs that spend much of their time in a kenneled situation. Graci knows where her Woof Stick lives and will walk anyone who comes in my house over to it and look up - a subtle hint she'd like them to take it down and play!
Another great entertainer is a frozen beef or bison shank bone. You can find these at high end pet food stores, and even in some grocery stores. Essentially it's a marrow bone that you give to the dog frozen and uncooked. They will not only work on it for hours, but once it's cleaned out will have a nice bone to chew for many days and weeks. You can even refill the marrow space with peanut butter and refreeze for a "repeat treat."
Finally, there is training! Teach your dog a trick, work on your off leash heeling or go find an indoor agility center. Remember, a couple of good training sessions a day can be almost as "energy burning" as a good romp. Especially for younger dogs. There are hundreds of web sites that offer easy to train tricks! Just remember to break out the good treats and put on your patience cap!