Wintertime fun for Fido & friends

Published in the PRG winter edition 2020

By Mimi Vishoot, DVM

Sierra Oaks Veterinary Services

Winter has settled in, and the days though cold, are starting to get longer. Weather permitting, we will be able to spend more time outside with our canine companions.

But what about these cold, wet days? Working dogs will still be out protecting the flock, managing the herd, guarding the property. These hardy dogs have important jobs to do outside and their stewards make sure to provide ample shelter and sustenance. Other working dogs may get to spend more time indoors, assisting their humans with tasks of daily living or providing emotional support and much-needed companionship.

Our pet dogs need jobs too – activities or games that satisfy their innate sense of purpose. Bowser can get pretty bored hanging out and might just destroy your upholstery!!

Mental activity is very satisfying, even tiring for our furry friends. Food dispensing toys help make mealtime a learning experience. Puzzle toys, games of hide and seek, trick training – all are fun and satisfying for the whole family!

It can be really fun to partake in group or private training with our family dogs. I am continually impressed by the number of high quality, positive-based trainers we have to choose from.

One newer option we have in our community is All About Dogs Training Center in Grass Valley. This designated dog training facility was started by long-time local dog training and boarding folks Sandy Self and Jenni Entz. They offer group classes in Obedience, Agility, Rally-O, Canine Good Citizenship, as well as private lessons. The well-equipped space is heated (cooled in summer) and has thickly matted floors for the comfort and safety of both dogs and handlers.

We have been taking our Border Collie cross, Winnie, to Agility classes at All About Dogs. It is amazing to see Winnie and her classmates develop confidence and skill maneuvering the obstacles. My husband gets to learn how to guide Winnie through the courses and they both have a ton of fun!

It is beautiful and heartwarming to watch the relationships develop between the dogs and their people in these classes. Some folks may go on to compete, but many are there for the fun and teamwork it nurtures. Some dogs start out very timid and then blossom in their confidence. Handlers are gently helped to guide their dogs to safe, fun, successful runs.

Enjoy this beautiful time of year nurturing your bond with your canine companions.

Maybe you and your dog would enjoy some relationship-building Agility, Rally-O, or any of the offerings at All About Dogs. Check them out at or call 530.518.0392.


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