With all the cold weather coming our way, we make changes at GHF accordingly; taking into consideration the weather and timing of the year to ensure the dogs are as comfortable as possible and that they still feel safe during the active hunting season of upstate NY.
During the transition from fall to winter, we adjust our protocol to account for these seasonal changes. The 'out schedule' changes most in the morning and at night, so that, especially on weekends when hunting is the most active, the dogs aren't alone when outside or, if they are alone, it's for very short intervals. MANY of our border collies have sound sensitivities and panic when gunshots go off... so it's important for our staff to know who is out, or to just remain with them while outside in order to lessen their anxiety and so that they associate humans with safety.
Here's some basic tips about exercising your dog during hunting season:
And as the cold weather hits, the staff has to be on their toes about making sure the heating situation for the dogs is matched appropriately to the weather outside. There are fans inside the barn as part of the heating system so that the heat is circulated and not simply vented out into one area or room (since each of the dogs have their own 'rooms' in the main rescue barn.)
Each of the annex rooms has their own heat set up as well, ensuring that all the dogs are in the best state of warmth when the weather drops. In the extreme cold, like we had last winter, dogs get large blankets covering all the floor space so that they have a cozy place to nest.
Here are some basic winter-weather tips for pet owners:
While these tips are fundamental and straightforward, it's always good to have a reminder about your pet's perspective and to review basic care. For instance, during very icy times at the farm, we may have to use booties to protect dogs' feet from being torn up or use a product similar to this to create a buffer between their sensitive pads and the harsh ice:
If it's really icy or desperately cold, the dogs are only out to do their business and then back inside, so as to avoid any potential injuries. It's much easier to for a muscular injury to occur during this type of weather, which is another thing to be aware of as a border collie owner, and it's certainly something we take into account at GHF!