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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Dogs Love Snow For Pretty Much The Same Reasons We Do

It's really fun, says science.

by: Ted Alvarez

image: Bev Wager / Flickr. <a href=http://tinyurl.com/lhtojsa" height="260" width="445">
image: Bev Wager / Flickr. http://tinyurl.com/lhtojsa

There isn’t much more delightful than watching an excitable pooch attack a snow bank – and now, thanks to science, we know why they get so psyched by the white stuff. Thanks, Science!

Basically, it’s the ultimate case of “he thinks he’s people.” Dogs have toddler-like minds that 1) enjoy exploring and messing around with new, unfamiliar materials, and 2) are addicted to having fun. (Sounds familiar.) Here’s more from The Dodo:

Stanley Coren, a scientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia and expert in canine psychology, said that many dogs love snow in the way that a toddler loves snow -- it’s simply fun to play with.

“Dogs like to manipulate their environment,” Coren said. “They will play in pile of leaves, just like the way kids do -- the mind of a dog is very much like that of a two-year-old.”

Snow, Coren said, provides dogs with a new experience, a new material to interact with -- which is fun and exciting.

“They will roll and bounce in it -- it’s really the fun of manipulating something,” he said. “It is essentially play behavior.”
Scientists and dog behavior experts agree that Nordic breeds – your huskies, malamutes, etc. – exhibit an enthusiasm backed by science: Their thick, insulating coats enable them to have fun crushing pow longer than shorter-haired breeds, who might get bored or simply too cold to have fun.

This might all seem too obvious, but I’m frankly happy to learn precisely why my beloved Husky could spend hours spiraling in snow on the trailhead (a move we nicknamed “The Worm.”) I also learned that I have the mind of a either a toddler or a Siberian hu—look guys, snow!! Let’s go play in it!!

[Ed. Note: We know BP readers have Vines and Instagrams of your four-legged friends romping in the snow. Share them and tag 'em #BPMag!]

Read more: The Dodo



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