There is no doubt about it, life on the farm during winter can sometimes be downright unpleasant.
For those of us in the north, it is usually cold, wet and muddy, while our southern friends contend with snow and sleet and even colder temperatures.
In such climes, feeding out and shifting stock is trying for all concerned, including our trusty and hardworking canine friends.
However, at least at the end of the day we can shed our wet clothes, down a nice hot meal and toast ourselves beside the fire before heading off to a warm bed.
Not so for our working companions - mud splattered, wet and equally cold, many are thrown a few bones or a couple of dog biscuits and shut up or tied to a kennel at the end of day.
Often these kennels are inadequate - most of them have the door in the centre which allows the wind to whistle straight in and there isn't even a corner for the inhabitants to shelter behind.
As winter bites, it is a good time to consider how we are treating our own dogs.
Taihape dog trainer Anna Holland was a shepherd for 35 years before turning her canine talents to helping other dog owners 10 years ago.
"Many (not all) people don't give a lot of thought to the farms' hardest workers," she says.
"Although a dog grows a slightly longer denser coat in winter, it isn't enough. We tend to prefer short-coated dogs in New Zealand and our winters are harsh. Some owners are responsible enough to cover part of the run so the worst rain doesn't drive in, but pity the dog whose owner hasn't - the kennel, even if new, provides a meagre amount of protection.
"I have seen horrendous living conditions. Once, I saw a line of dog motels where several of the dogs had chewed the front of the kennels ... the dogs were huddled inside, standing in an inch of water. They couldn't lie down ... The owner knew and did nothing and when questioned, he shrugged and said they chewed it."
Clean water, food and grooming are also important for a dog's well-being.
"I know farm dogs are workers, not city layabouts, but over the years I have seen too many pathetically sad, skinny, dull-coated dogs following behind ignorant farmers," said Holland.
"There is no excuse, apart from illness, for a dog to have a lifeless coat. If it is fed enough quality food, treated for fleas, lives in a clean, dry kennel and is (gently) combed several times a year, it will look a picture of health and be a credit to you."
Even short haired dogs benefit from grooming when they moult.
She says she is often queried by those attending her training days whether her dogs "work".
"I admit they do look like pampered pooches as their coats are so black, shiny and thick, but I pride myself in having well-fed, healthy dogs all year round, and it shows in their coats," she says.
"When my dogs come in covered in thick mud I give them a quick hose to get most of it off. The dogs then have a good shake and are clean and virtually dry - this saves being cold and muddy for hours while having to lick it off.
Holland recommends bumping up the food rations over winter as the extra condition helps keeps the dogs warm.
"Their work load is less and it isn't hot, so there isn't a problem with performance," she says.
"All it takes is a few moments of your time to make your deserving dog's life a bit more bearable for all that he does for you."
And let's not forget our aging pets.
Holland says although her old retired Huntaway Maude (11) has a has a lovely warm kennel with woollen blankets, the old girl had recently been feeling the affects of the cold.
"She was pretty unhappy - very, very slow, huddled up and very miserable looking. I made her a lovely coat ... well what a difference ... her whole demeanour has changed ... she is a new dog."