How Can I Keep My Dog Sociable In The Winter?

Dog kissing ownerStaying social is important for dogs, but this can be a challenge in the winter. Thankfully, there are ways to make sure your dog gets plenty of interaction with other dogs during this time of year.

Benefits of Being Social

Dogs need to be able to spend time with other dogs in order to build healthy socialization skills. Some dogs end up becoming fearful or aggressive around unfamiliar dogs if they’re not around other dogs much in general. Giving dogs plenty of chances to socialize helps them become more comfortable around other dogs. They learn how to behave appropriately while playing and interacting with other dogs.

Being social also provides dogs with opportunities to stay mentally stimulated while also getting physical activity. When dogs run around and play with other dogs, they’re burning off mental and physical energy, which helps reduce the risk of boredom. Dogs can develop behavioral problems, such as chewing household items, when they’re bored and don’t have enough mental and physical stimulation.

Ways to Stay Social in Winter

Although socializing offers important benefits for dogs, it’s not always easy to find ways to do this in winter. When it’s cold and snowy out, you’re not likely to find other dogs and dog owners at the local dog park. If it’s really cold, you also have to limit the amount of time your dog spends outside for safety reasons.

DoGone Fun provides convenient ways for you to make sure your dog stays social this winter. Our doggy daycare services offer a safe place for your dog to play with other dogs throughout the season. This is a great option if you have to work all day and can’t be around your dog. At doggy daycare, your dog can spend several hours a day interacting with other dogs in a supervised setting. No matter what the weather’s like outside, your dog will be able to socialize all season long.

You can also rent the playroom at DoGone Fun on Sundays from 12:30 to 2:30 pm for special events. Whether you want to throw your dog a birthday party, schedule a play date or host a group event, you can rent the indoor playroom to provide dogs with a warm, dry area to burn off energy. When you rent this space, you’ll also have a staff member on hand to keep the dogs entertained with fun and games.

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Local Dog Parks Near The South Loop

three dogs at a dog parkChicago offers a number of local dog parks  where dogs can burn off energy and socialize. Learn more about some of these parks, so you can plan your next outing with your pup.

Grant Bark Park

Located on Columbus Drive and 11th Street, this 18,000 square foot park is fully enclosed and features drinking fountains for pets and people.

Fred Anderson Park

This dog park on S. Wabash Ave. also provides dogs with 18,000 square feet of space to play. There’s also a separate area for small dogs, as well as water features and fountains.

Logan Square Dog Park

This newer dog park is located on N. Western Ave. near the Kennedy Expressway. The park features drinking fountains for dogs and separate play areas for large and small dogs, as well as benches for dog owners who need a rest.

Ohio Place Dog Park

Ohio Place Dog Park is the place to go if you have a larger breed. This park provides bigger dogs with a lot of space to roam around and stay active. Since there aren’t any water fountains at this park, you should bring water with you.

Ohio Street Dog Park

This is a triangular-shaped park that gives dogs plenty of room to run around or play with other dogs. Located on Kingsbury St., this park doesn’t have water fountains, so you’ll need to bring water for your pup.

Skinner Bark Park

Located on W. Monroe, this former parking lot now offers over 17,000 square feet of space for dogs to run around in. Skinner Bark Park includes water for dogs, but keep in mind that you’ll have to bring your own bags for cleaning up after them.

The Park at Lakeshore East

This is a smaller and somewhat more secluded dog park that offers over 6,000 square feet of space. This dog park uses specially designed K9 grass to provide a safe and comfortable surface for dogs.

Wiggly Field

Wiggly Field, located on W. National St. in Reed-Keppler Park, is a park that includes a separate area for smaller dogs to play. The park also has dog agility equipment.

Dog parks are great fun for everyone. However, sometimes, it’s rainy, muddy, cold and can be generally miserable for the humans. So on days when you can’t take the dog to playgroup, but still want them to have fun and get their energy out, consider bringing them to dog daycare for ½ or full days.

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Dog Park Safety

dogs playing at the dog parkDog parks can provide a place for dogs to burn off energy and be social, but there are certain potential dangers to watch for. Since your dogs will be around unfamiliar dogs and people, it’s important for you to take steps to ensure their safety. Keep the following dog park safety tips in mind anytime you decide to visit one of these places.

Work on Obedience Training

Before heading to the dog park, go over a few basic obedience commands, such as “sit.” Your dogs should be able to follow these commands in an environment that is distracting, which helps ensure that they’ll listen to you in a hectic dog park. Consider taking obedience training classes before bringing your dogs to the park if they haven’t learned these commands yet.

Go During Slower Times

Dog parks can become packed with pups during peak times. This can make it much more difficult to keep an eye on your dogs at all times. If possible, plan on visiting your local dog park when it isn’t as busy. This might mean bringing your dogs there in the morning or afternoon during the week or in the early morning on the weekend.

Always Watch Your Dogs

No matter how much you trust your dogs at home, don’t assume that they’ll behave at the dog park. Be ready to step in and prevent dangerous situations from occurring if your dogs don’t seem comfortable with certain other dogs at the park or if they’re making other dogs nervous, such as when they’re overly excited. Remember that dogs who are nervous or fearful can snap or lunge at other dogs. Watch other dogs for signs of aggressive behavior as well, and leave immediately with your dogs if you see it.

Clean Up After Your Dogs

Bring bags with you to clean up after your dogs whenever they leave feces behind at the dog park. This helps curb the spread of germs that can make dogs and people sick. This also lowers your risk of having you or your dogs step in feces and track these germs into your car or your home.

Dog parks are a great opportunity for your dog to socialize. But dog parks aren’t for every dog. That’s one reason some people bring their pooches to doggy daycare. DoGoneFun provide  both ½ day and full day daycare so your dog get the socialization they need.


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Dog Daycare and Dog Parks

two dogs at a dog parkGetting out of your apartment and being around other people and pets is beneficial for both you and your dog. Local dog parks and dog daycare both offer places for dogs to socialize and get some fresh air, but which one should you choose? Keep the following information in mind when you’re deciding where to bring your dog for fun and excitement.

Dog Parks

Dog parks in the area provide enclosed outdoor spaces where dogs can roam around and play. While your pup is getting some exercise and making new canine friends, you can meet fellow dog owners and spend time socializing with them. These parks offer a great way for dogs to burn off energy and learn to behave appropriately with other dogs and people.

Dog Daycare

What happens if you aren’t able to get out thanks to bad weather, an illness or a busy schedule? When you can’t head to local dog parks with your pup, consider looking into dog daycare. These facilities also give dogs an enclosed area to play and meet other dogs. They also provide some important benefits for dogs and their owners.

Dog daycare facilities only accept dogs who have updated vaccinations. You don’t know the vaccination status of dogs at the dog park, but you can rest assured that dogs at a dog daycare facility are up-to-date. This helps lower the risk of your dog getting sick from diseases that other dogs can spread. Keep in mind that Chicago area has had problems with canine illnesses, including the past flu outbreak. Being around vaccinated dogs helps your dog avoid these diseases.

Bringing your dog to a dog park means that you have to keep a very close eye on her. This can be hard to do at times, but at a dog daycare facility, it’s not something to worry about. Dogs undergo temperament testing before being allowed to participate in playtime, and all dogs are closely monitored at all times. This helps keep all of these dogs safe from injuries and ensures that they have an enjoyable time playing rather than a stressful one.

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Doggy Day Care – Is It Right For My Dog?

cleaning time for kennel assistantWhen you aren’t able to be home during the day to spend time with your dog, day care might be an option to consider. Having your dog go to doggy day care ensures that she has a chance to burn off energy and make new friends on a regular basis. This helps reduce boredom and provides plenty of physical and mental stimulation for your dog. How do you know if this option is a good one for your pet? Keep the following in mind.

Temperament Assessments

Dogs who are going to be joining doggy day care at DoGone Fun must go through a temperament assessment first. This assessment is an important part of making sure that all dogs who participate in day care play sessions are as safe as possible. While many dogs have temperaments that are suitable for this type of social setting, others might have qualities that could create an unsafe environment. For example, dogs who are afraid of other dogs might snap or act out due to their fear. Other dogs might show signs of aggression, such as lunging, that make it dangerous for them to take part in doggy day care.

Basic Obedience

Does your dog obey basic commands, such as “stay?” It’s helpful for dogs to have basic obedience training if they’re going to be in a doggy day care facility. This makes it easier for staff members to ensure that all dogs are able to play safely. If your dog hasn’t had basic obedience training yet, keep in mind that DoGone Fun offers individual and group training sessions. Your dog can learn to follow certain commands, then join in the fun with their day care group.


Socialization is a core part of ensuring that dogs learn how to behave properly in different situations and around other dogs, pets and people. If your dog doesn’t get out much, doggy day care is a great way to provide her with plenty of socialization opportunities. At DoGone Fun, your dog can spend a few or several hours each day playing and having fun with other dogs.




Getting your Dog ready for the Chicago winter

chicago winter.jpg
Chicago winters can be brutal when temperatures drop well below freezing and snow storms hit. This kind of weather can make it difficult for dogs to spend time outdoors, even when it’s just a quick dog walk so they can do their business. Take the following steps now to prepare your dog for winter weather.
Cover Your Dog to Keep Out the Cold
Bringing dogs outside in winter when they’re used to milder weather is hard for them to adjust to, especially if they have a thinner coat. Put a doggy coat or jacket on your pup when you head outdoors for walks. Having this kind of covering on helps keep their body warm and protected from wind and cold. If it’s snowing and their coat or jacket gets wet, take it off right away when you get back home. Wearing cold and wet apparel can raise their risk of dangerous health issues, such as hypothermia.
Protect Your Dog’s Paws
A coat or jacket helps keep a dog’s body warmer overall, but don’t forget about their paws. Having to walk on freezing concrete can be uncomfortable and lead to injuries. Dogs that have to walk over rock salt on sidewalks can end up with burnt paw pads. The pads on their paws can also become cracked from exposure to the cold, and freezing temperatures can increase their risk of having frostbitten feet. Have your dog wear a pair of dog booties when you go out for walks. These booties protect your dog’s paws and lower the risk of injuries. Make sure you take them off as soon as you get home, so your dog won’t spread salt around your home. Licking this rock salt can be dangerous for dogs.
Look Into Indoor Fun
When it’s too cold for playtime outdoors, consider putting your dog in doggy daycare. This gives your dog a warm and safe place to stay physically active and spend time with other pups. With doggy daycare, you won’t have to worry about frostbite and other winter woes, and your dog won’t get bored being cooped up at home.

Options for your dog while you’re away for the holidays

Carefree restful little pug dog lying on blue bedclothes, embracThe holiday season is often a busy time thanks to family gatherings, work parties and other festive activities. If you plan on driving or flying elsewhere to see your family for the holidays or if you have a packed social schedule during this season, you’ll have to figure out how to make sure that your dog is cared for and has some company. These are just a few different options that are available for pet owners during the holidays.
Consider a Dog Walker
If you’re not going out of town, but you have several holiday festivities going on, look into hiring a dog walker. Professional dog walkers can stop by your home as often as needed to take your dog for walks. This allows your dog to eliminate regularly, get some physical activity and have plenty of attention when you’re not home. This can provide you with peace of mind as you go about your holiday activities.
Hire a Pet Sitter
Hiring a pet sitter to come to your home and care for your dog is another option to consider. Pet sitters can take dogs for walks, play with them, feed them, give them medicine if needed, and perform other tasks. However, keep in mind that some pet sitters only stop by a few times a day or less, which means your dog won’t have as much company overall. If you hire an in-home sitter, you would have to be comfortable letting someone you don’t know stay in your home while you’re away.
Find a Pet Boarding Facility
Boarding your dog is a better option if you’ll be away for the holidays and want to make sure that he has a lot of attention. Find a pet boarding facility that provides a clean and safe place for dogs and has friendly and experienced staff available to supervise them. You can also find pet boarding places that offer other services such as spa services, gourmet treats, and training sessions. If you choose this option for your dog, check the facility’s requirements for boarding, which usually include certain vaccinations and a temperament assessment.