Brrrr… The Winter is Coming!

All wrapped up for the day, I was sitting by the fireplace and enjoying a good book when I heard the familiar noise of Jersey wanting to go outside. I put my book down, walked into the kitchen and let her outside. I had just settled in and continued reading, when about five minutes later I heard Jersey wanting to come inside. Getting up, I walked back into the kitchen to let her inside and dry off her paws. Back to my book I went, blissfully snuggled under the blankets by the fireplace.

Ten minutes later a noise broke my concentration. It was Jersey wanting to go out again. Getting up, I repeated the earlier process, and she did as well. In the span of two hours, she insisted she wanted to go outside (and then be let back in) every 10 minutes. Finally I gave up on my book, let her outside one last time and then we went to bed, although I was left scratching my head about her behavior.

What gives?

Any housebroken pet will have a “system” in which they alert you when they need to be let outside. Some dogs also try to beat the system, particularly when treats are involved during the enter/exit part of their bathroom break.

I chalked up Jersey’s unusual behavior to the changes in temperature. I went through a checklist to see if any of these factors could be contributing to her actions.

  • Temperature in the house. Some pet owners have a habit of raising the heat to combat the cold weather. While raising the temperature is normal, try not to excessively raise the heat at it could adversely affect your pet. This is especially true for long-haired pets.
  • Water consumption. During extremely cold and warm temperatures, your pet can become easily dehydrated. Be sure to offer plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. Your pet may also eat snow to rehydrate themselves.
  • Frigid temperatures. While many outdoorsy pets like Jersey can withstand exceptional temperatures over their short-coated friends, even the furriest pets will feel the bite of winter chill. Do not leave your pet outside for extended periods of time in frigid temperatures, particularly during winter storm warnings, unless they have access to proper shelter.
  • Change in routine. If your dog spends lots of time outside during the other seasons, be sure to give them lots of mental activity if the weather prevents typical exercise. Special chew toys, games of fetch, or “brain games” for your pet will keep them mentally busy.

For now, I am resigned to letting Jersey in and out until I find the proper amount of entertainment and exercise to keep her busy until the weather lets up. The next time a family member points out that Jersey is not very well-trained, I will beg to differ because she has done an excellent job of training me, her personal concierge!

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Dec 15, 2010
by Aubrie