When the days are shorter and the weather outside is freezing and you just don’t want to leave the fireside, it is still important for your dog to exercise; it is vital for his physical and mental well-being. So here are some great things you can both enjoy, for indoor and outdoor fun.
Hints and tips
- For those who are really into outdoor activities, cross-country skiing or snow trekking is ideal. With the correct equipment like special harnesses and snowshoes you’ll have all you need for snowy fun and great exercise. Just don’t try the cross-country skiing if you have a Chihuahua! This is strictly for the bigger, stronger dogs.
- For the little guys, just get out there and walk if the snow isn’t too deep. Walking through snow is a great workout for both of you.
- Jogging in winter can be exhilarating and doing it in a group with friends (and doggy friends) is a great way to keep in touch.
- Keep socialising! Arrange meetings in local pubs or dog-friendly cafes with friends, maybe have group training sessions to keep doggy brains sharp!
If the weather outside is just too awful then here are some indoor activities you could think about.
- Hide and seek is a great game and one which dogs never tire of. This can be to find you or to find a treat or favourite toy. Food treats can be hidden inside a Kong, for example, or hidden around the house. If you are hiding it somewhere in the house, show him the treat – or his favourite toy – first, then distract him or put him out of the room while you hide it. Then let him back in and ask him to ‘seek’, or use whichever is your command word. Similarly, put him out of the room while you hide, then call him and reward him when he finds you! This exercise is great for engaging the dog’s brain and for reinforcing the ‘come’ or ‘seek’ commands.
- Look into whether there are any indoor agility classes in your area. Even if your dog isn’t up to charging around an agility course it’s great fun to watch for you and him.
- Some swimming pools may hold swim sessions for dogs and owners. Remember to thoroughly dry off the pooch before exposing him to cold outside air.
- Invite play buddies over! Human as well as doggy ones!
- Hire or buy a treadmill if your dog is high energy.
Of course if you haven’t the time to exercise your dog, you could always call on a north London dog walker like me to come and make sure your dog get the exercise he needs.