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I quickly admit that I resist going outside in the cold. But I know that keeping dogs active through the colder months keeps them healthier for more years. Sure, you need to take those frequent outdoor potty break walks and they can be fun, too. But let’s think beyond the needed walks.So we gathered some fun dog winter exercise tips to help get us all going! You might even forget that it’s cold outside!
Winter turns out to be the most challenging time for outdoor fun activities and exercising with pets, especially in the areas where it snows a lot. Taking your dog out in the cold can damage its paws. But it is important to note that walking and exercise are essential for a healthy life. Not only for your dog but for you as well. Therefore, you should look for some activities that boost your metabolism as well along with your dog’s health.
The following post includes some amazing ways you can have fun with your pet, even in winter. Stick to the end to find out.
1. Play Indoors
There are so many games you can play with your dog indoors. You just need to pick suitable games and engage with your companion in the right manner to have all the fun. Playing indoors not only keeps the dog happy and delighted but also serves as good exercise.
In order to keep the dog moving and keep him mentally engaged, you can play hide-and-seek with him. Find out what treats your dog loves the most and use them to play with him. You can also use his favorite toy as these things compel him to find the thing, which ultimately serves as good exercise. As the dog gets his favorite things at the end, he also remains happy. Tug-of-war and fetch can also serve as good fun games.
2. Mental Exercise
There are many ways in which you can train your dog mentally. Mental exercise is as important as physical exercise. You can pick different things, including puzzle toys. Teaching the dog new tricks is also a great way to keep your dog active and train him mentally.
Puzzle toys are one of the best ways to do mental exercise. As these games hide treats, it is quite fun for the dog to play. These are really interactive games that also strengthen your dog’s cognitive abilities.
3. March Up and Down the Stairs
Don’t miss having fun marching up and down the stairs if there is a staircase at your home. This exercise truly serves as a doggy boot camp. Initially, you need to engage with your dog, but as time progresses, your dog will love how fun this exercise is. If you have more than one dog, you can also try racing them.
Beware of this exercise if your dog has joint problems or is of old age. This can be problematic for his health and won’t do any good in his health. Also, if your pet shows fear of the stairs, take this slowly. Better to integrate him at his own speed than to have his fear cause a fall.
4. Set Up Obstacles
You can play this fun game with your dog if you have a big lawn or even spacious rooms. Set up various kinds of obstacles all around the lawn and ask the dog to cross them. This can include tables, chairs, various pillars, and the like. Ask him to jump over the chair and get beneath the table. Place the treat at the end of the obstacles so that the dog uses his full potential to get across the obstacles and have the treat. You can also watch dog shows to get more ideas on what can be included as obstacles.
While formal agility uses specific obstacles, you and your dog might enjoy the handmade course using everyday objects. If you find that you both love the thrill of it, consider joining a local club to try the sport of Agility.
5. Interval Walk
If you have a cold-weather dog breed that does not face difficulty moving on snow, then you should go for an interval walk every day. This will serve as a catalyst for your daily chores and boost your metabolism.
Instead of mindlessly walking around, you can follow the following pattern for more intense exercise:
- One minute walk
- 20 seconds jog
- One minute walk
- 20-second shuffle
- One minute walk
- 20-second backward running
Complete three to five sets of it to boost the metabolism. This will definitely be a very fun time with your companion.
6. Indoor Swimming
No, you don’t need to have a full-fledged swimming pool to let your dog swim. A sizable tub can also do the job. If you have a puppy, or a small–sized dog, then you don’t have to do much hassle.
If your dog is afraid, you shouldn’t directly take him swimming. Pet him with a wet washcloth initially. Allow him to explore puddles on walks. Go slowly, and when you observe he is able to bear water, then take him swimming in a small tub. Our dog swimming tips help you increase your dog’s confidence in water.
Consider these dog swimming pool safety tips, too.
AKC.org offers advice on introducing your dog to swimming, whether indoors or out. For dogs with handicaps or arthritis, swimming makes a great exercise routine year-round. Studies continue to show the many benefits including improved mobility of swimming for dogs.
Dog yoga is commonly referred to as “doga.” As with humans, dogs help dogs overcome anxiety and help dogs relax, and experience calmness. Not only that, it is beneficial for a dog’s general well-being and health..
All you need to do is grab a yoga mat and open a YouTube tutorial for doga. Be very careful in the beginning and focus on the stretches and strengthening the limbs. You need to be engaged the whole time actually to get the desired results.
That might sound somewhat weird, but yes, dogs do learn to walk on a treadmill. This is beneficial, especially if you have a short-haired dog who cannot bear the winter cold during a walk outside.
A treadmill walk ensures a good workout and, at the same time, keeps the dog physically strong and improves his cardiovascular system. Once he finishes a treadmill walk with you, reward him with his favorite treat so that he awaits for a treadmill walk every day. Though a treadmill walk can never compensate for the outdoor walk, it is still a great exercise that keeps your dog in shape.
9. Take Him Outside
Being confined to a house the whole day in winter can be super frustrating for your dog. Getting in touch with nature can relieve all the frustration. And walking your dog benefits both you and your pet in numerous ways! Professionals cite the many health and mental benefits of outdoor walks.
If moving outdoors is not convenient, you can go to a pet-friendly coffee shop to have fun with your dog.
Other than that, you can also plan a fun playdate with your pet. It is also a great idea to call your friend who also has a dog. You can have some chit-chat with your friend while the two dogs get along. This socialization will turn out very beneficial for your dog’s physical and mental health.
Take him to pet parks once in a while. Your dog will be happy to see more dogs like him. Playing with them and running after dogs will keep him delighted and boost his metabolism.
Need some ideas on how to have a fun but safe walk with your fur friend? Our tips for enjoying the walk with your dog might help.
A good, fun time and an excellent activity for you and your dog can be hiking. Being around nature, especially the trees, helps the mind relax and be active. The natural aroma keeps your dog mentally healthy. Dogs are generally curious about exploring the wonderland by hiking. Most dog breeds love hiking by nature. Then why not take this as an advantage and go ahead with your companion for the most fun activity? This will be beneficial for you as well in so many ways.
11. Winter Camping
Imagine a more fun activity than camping with your best companion. And when that companion is your dog, things can be even more exciting. Grab all the essentials, pack your bags, and go camping with your dog. The whole traveling experience and later sights at the campsite will freshen you and your pet.
This will be a special kind of excitement for your dog. He will see you as the only trustworthy person, and you will also find your dog only to rely on. However, plan everything beforehand and ensure the weather is not dangerous for traveling and camping. Do your research very well before picking a spot.
Skijoring offers another great winter activity that you can do with your dog. Skijoring is more of a modified version of dog sledding. Your dog has to pull you on cross-country skis, while there will be a hands-free leash and a unique kind of harness.
There doesn’t need to be a special dog breed to enjoy skijoring. However, your dog should be of a certain weight and must be trained before hopping onto skijoring. Teach him basic obedience, ensure he is more than 35 lbs, make him aware of some rules of skijoring, and get the proper skijoring equipment. Once you are done doing these, you and your dog are ready for skijoring.
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before heading out. Sometimes the weather can be dangerously extreme for such activities. Avoid going outdoors in such situations.
Use These Fun Dog Winter Exercise Tips With Your Pet
Playing and exercising are vital for the general well-being of your dog. As the winter sets in and everything around seems gloomy, you shouldn’t lose all your heart and sit back at home with your pet. Understand the importance of daily physical activity and plan your day such that you get some time to play with your dog.
This will not only benefit him but also help you kick off loneliness and improve your mental health. Having a loyal companion by your side will reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.