Snow has once again descended upon our mountain town, and that means that many dogs are experiencing their favorite time of year. There’s no doubt about it—snow is fun for most dogs, and, along with cooler winter temperatures, it really changes them. One of the most obvious changes is that dogs are more energetic, especially when they are outdoors.
Energy can be great fun for all involved. Bringing a dog with you when cross country skiing or snow shoeing is a wonderful experience, and many dogs enjoy the extra time outdoors exercising. Even having company while shoveling snow is a pleasant side effect of the fact that most dogs love snow. People shovel the snow and dogs try to catch it as it flies by to the piles. And I love it when a dog is happily tired in the evenings after a day of outdoor snow adventures.
On the other hand, if your dog is feeling extra peppy because of the snow and crisp air, it can be exhausting if you are not similarly inclined to be more playful and full of joy due to snow. When dogs are invigorated by the weather but their people consider winter storms an inspiration to sip hot cocoa while reading a good book in front of the fire, there can be trouble.
Energetic dogs may be more likely to misbehave with destructive chewing, barking, whining, chasing the cat, and any of a number of undesirable actions that result from being full of energy with no way to vent it. When they do go outside, they may be less responsive because they are so distracted. They may also take off running and leaping—cute but potentially dangerous. Many people are surprised by misbehavior that occurs in the winter without realizing that cooler temperatures, more snow, and a bit of cabin fever may all be contributing factors.
The way that snow changes many dogs is a positive turn of events as long as you embrace it and provide your dog ample opportunities to enjoy the season. Otherwise, you’re in for a long wait until spring!