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Keeping Your Dog Active in the Winter

Keeping Your Dog Active in the Winter

The shorter daylight hours in winter, coupled with the chilly and snowy outdoors, leave most of us, including our furry canine friends hiding indoors, searching for warmth. And while this may appear like a perfect way to spend wintertime, your pup still needs a lot of physical exercise to burn off pent-up energy.

Keeping your dog active is a crucial part of his physical and mental well-being. Lack of regular physical exercise can put your pup at risk of obesity and also trigger bad behavior.

Although the winter temperatures may not allow for tons of outdoor dog activities, there are multiple ways you can keep your canine friend active. All you need is some indoor space and a little creativity, and you’re good to go. In this article, we offer a detailed look at ways you can use to keep your dog active in winter

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Ways to Keep a Dog Active in the Winter

Play Fetch

If you have decent indoor space, playing fetch can be an excellent way to keep your dog active in the winter.

Take your pup’s favorite toy or ball, throw it far away from him, and have him sprint or run after it.  Once he brings it back to you, repeat the same process and ensure he actively engages in the exercise.

You can also incorporate some command words like ‘stop,’ ‘bring,’ and ‘drop’ to mention a few to teach or remind your pooch of some basic commands.

Typically, indoor fetch is a good cardiovascular activity to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated in winter.

Play Stair Games

If you have a flight of stairs in your house, you can use them to keep your pup active. You can be as creative as you can when it comes to stair games.

For example, you can run up and down the stairs with your pup but be careful not to trip and fall.

Additionally, you can play stair-fetch by throwing your dog’s favorite toy up or down the stairs and having him run after it.

Stair games are a fun way to help your pup burn off pent-up energy. Repeat the games until your canine friend gets a decent amount of exercise. Just be mindful of your dog’s indicators of getting tired so they don't hurt themselves while going up or down the stairs.

Join Obedience Classes

Although obedience classes may not seem like a form of physical exercise for your dog, they can help him stay active in winter. Obedience training helps teach your dog new tricks and emphasizes what he already knows.

For example, making your dog lay down, sit, follow you as you walk, and perform other obedience tricks greatly helps burn excess energy.

During obedience classes, your dog will also use his brain, which keeps him mentally stimulated. Obedience classes also help you strengthen your bond with your furry friend.

Use a Doggy Treadmill

Surprised huh? Yes, dogs too can exercise on treadmills. They may not be the most exciting way for your dog to stay active but are a good alternative when you can’t get out of the house.

To get your dog on the treadmill, start it at a low speed and entice him onto it using his favorite treat.

Once your pup gets comfortable on the treadmill, you can slowly increase the speed at intervals. However, you need to keep a close eye on your pup and remove him immediately if you notice any signs of distress or anxiety.

Not every dog will be comfortable on the treadmill, so don’t force your pup if he seems uncomfortable.

Try an Obstacle Course

An obstacle course is another great way to keep your pup active during winter. You can make a simple obstacle course with just a few markers, or if you have ample space in your home, you can put together a mini agility course. All you’ll need are a few cones and some objects for your dog to climb over.

If you’re afraid that your dogs will crash into your household items when running, you can opt to walk them around the course rather than having them run.

Schedule some Doggy Play Dates

Dog playdates on snowy winter? Yes!

Why not get your neighbors with their dogs for a doggy play date? Dogs love to play with their canine companions. During playdates, the dog will lose excess energy by chasing and wrestling his fellow canine companion. 

If it’s not too chilly, they can spend their time in the garden, but if the weather isn’t favorable, you can organize an indoor doggy playdate.

Alternatively, you can take your pup to a dog daycare where he gets to interact and play with other dogs.

Explore the Winter Wonderland

Dogs love to jump and run in the snow. Spending some minutes in the snow will give your dog a great workout that will help them stay active and burn some energy.

However, younger and older dogs shouldn’t spend much time in the snow because of their not-so-strong immunity. 

While playing outside in the snow, always ensure you keep an eye on your dog for any signs of discomfort. If you feel like the outdoors is too cold for your dog, don’t risk taking him outside; look for alternative indoor games.

Try Dog Dancing

Yes, dogs too can dance!

Play some upbeat songs and get your dog dancing along with you. And while dogs may not have a defined dancing rhythm, jumping along trying to copy your moves keeps them active and helps them burn excess energy.  Let your dog dance as much as he can until he’s worn out.

Go for an Outdoor Walk

If the weather outside permits, take your dog outdoors for a walk. However, many dogs don’t like walking on the snow or ice because it’s too cold, and there are high chances of slipping and falling.  So, when taking your pup for a walk during winter, it’s advisable to get him warm outdoor wearables such as a dog sweater and booties

Booties are important in keeping your pup’s paws safe from frostbite and chemicals used to defrost ice on sidewalks.  If you don’t have protective booties, be sure to keep your walks short and rinse off your dog’s paws immediately after you get back from the walk to prevent irritation and infections.  An outdoor walk is an excellent way to keep your dog active in winter.

Wrapping Up

Although it might be tempting to allow your dog to hibernate the snowy winter way, it’s important to incorporate some exercises in his daily schedule to keep him mentally and physically active. A great way to make sure your pup is keeping up with their exercise regime is by using a tracking collar, like Fi. Not only will it let you set activity goals, but you’ll also be able to view how many steps they're taking per day, how many miles they’re walking each week, and see how they compare to other dogs in their breed group. And the location tracking is a plus, too! You can learn more about Fi here: tryfi.com/learn

The fun activities discussed above can go a long way in keeping your pup active in the winter. All you need is a little creativity, time, and dedication to keep your canine friend active and happy.