After the long, hot summers that we experience here in Texas, I always look forward to winter. While we can only hope for snow every three to five years, we do have quite a bit of chilly weather from now until February. If you’re looking for fun winter activities with your dog, you’re not alone! We’re hard at work thinking of fun activities to keep our dogs busy and happy on the coldest winter days.
We keep up the winter fun with our dogs, whether that’s on sunny but cold days like today or rainy, blustery days like they’re predicting for this weekend. Even if the weather outside is frightful, staying active with our dogs can be so delightful—for us and our furry companions. Here are 10 ideas for winter fun with your Fido:
Keep on walkin’
Maintaining a daily walking schedule of at least two 30-minutes walks is a great for our dogs—and for me. We don’t have to worry about de-icing chemicals here but, if you do, consider dog booties or be sure to wash your dog’s paws when you return home to remove any mud, salt or chemicals from the pads. For dogs who won’t accept protective boots, watch for painful ice between your dog’s toes. Keeping fur trimmed in this area will help as well.
Take a trip
Travel makes a great way to keep your dog active in the winter as well–whether it’s a winter getaway, a day trip or a few hours of errands. A ride in the car, even a trip as simple as a journey through a drive-in bank window, can be a fun outing and a great way to prevent cabin fever.
Get out and go shopping with your dog
Make some calls to local stores to see if any in your area welcome dogs, a great way to get your dog out and active as you walk the aisles together.
Check out Skijoring
OK, this is one winter sport that we won’t be trying in central Texas–but if you’re surrounded by snow, check out this activity that’s growing in popularity. The sport of skijoring is cross-country skiing while being pulled by your dog using a special harness for your dog and belt for you.
Scent track in the snow
For something a little less intense, head out in the snow with your dog for some fun scent tracking, letting your dog enjoy the smells of winter. You can add challenge to the tracking by burying some treats in the snow for your dog to discover!
Play fetch on the stairs
If you have a flight of stairs, a game of fetch—or a tossed treat—can be a mini-workout.
Teach a new trick
Winter makes a great time to teach your dog some new tricks. Mental stimulation can be a great workout for a restless Rover as he works to learn a new trick or to do “doggie pushups,” practicing sit, down, and up commands with a little training treat reward. Barli is enrolled in his second training course and, on off days, we practice his new skills several times throughout the day.
Feed your dog with a puzzle toy
Try puzzle toys that challenge your dog to move playing pieces to uncover hidden mini-treats or a portion of your dog’s dinner. Encourage your dog to “hunt” for his meal!
Create an indoor agility course
Set up a mini agility course for your canine with jumps (a broomstick), a tunnel (a bed sheet stretched between chairs), or hoops (a hula hoop) for some indoor fun–or get specialized and use a ladder to help teach your dog rear leg awareness.
Dance with your dog
OK, you and your dog may not be dancers of this caliber–but that’s OK. Turn up the music and dance like no one but your dog is watching. The two of you can enjoy a fun cardio workout together on even the coldest winter day.
Staying active during the winter months can be a great way for you and your dog to stay in shape together and to strengthen your bond in this special season.