Our Top Tips on how to exercise your dog in the winter

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Depositphotos_60051327_xl-2015-1024x683 Our Top Tips on how to exercise your dog in the winter

Come October./ November time and the weather starts to get cold; all we want to do is hibernate. However, your dog still needs to get both physical and mental exercise. Nice daily walk to help break the day up, have a toilet break and relief the boredom, but it is not always enough in winter.

Our dogs must get physical and mental exercise daily to help keep them in shape.

However, as a dog owner, I understand that we want to spend less time outdoors once it gets cold and wet. If you have a smaller breed or a short-haired dog, it is also important to take some safety measures. Whilst others, like Huskies and Malamutes, love the cold.

Top safety tips for exercising your dog in winter

  • Try to walk around the middle of the day when it is warmer.
  •   If you have a short-heard breed and elderly dog or your dog feels the cold weather for whatever reason, then provide them with a lovely warm fleece to help them cope.
  • The important danger signs to look for are similar to humans when they get hypothermia. If you notice that your dog is physically shivering or feels cold when you touch him,n it is time to cut the walk short and get indoors to warm him up.
  • Remember to protect the paws during the winter with some balm-like Mushers’ Winter roads bring ice and snow, which means they are likely to be treated with rock salt.
  • Instead of taking long walks and being exposed for long periods, which may result in hypothermia, take shorter walks. By king shorter walks around the park or block, your dog will be able to warm up in between

Some great ways to bond and  exercise your dog in winter without going out

Spending less time playing in the park shouldn’t be a problem  Both you and your dog can have some great bonding time. Play g games and even working on your training can help keep your dogs weight down and get rid of his energy.

Play indoor fetch

Do you have a long hall or some other place in the house? If the answer is yes, this can be used to play indoor fetch. Throw your dog’s favourite toy for him to bring back to you. A word of warning make sure anything breakable is removed.

Indoor hide and seek

This is a great game and can be great fun. Hide and eek can provide physical and mental activity for your dog. Simply hide somewhere in the house to conceal yourself. Once you a hidden, call your dog and wait for him to find you. Once your dog has found you, he gets to have a nice tasty treat.

Join a Doga class

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A recent craze is Doga.  What is Doga? Well, essentially, it is yoga for you and your dog and something you can do at home.

Whilst your dog obviously won’t be able to make all the Doga moves, they will learn the overtime. Doga will not only strengthen the bond but provide some great massages and stretches.

As well as being able to do it at home classes are popping up and so it can also provide an opportunity for you and your dog to get out  and socialise

Outdoor I mean indoor agility

We are all familiar with agility for dogs in a field to provide a mental and physical workout. Well, there is no reason why this can’t be done indoors, and the great thing is that you can probably improvise with items that you can find around the house or garden.

So why not get weaving running through hoops, around poles and over bridges

Have a playdate

If you are in an area have a dog that is friendly then you consider inviting a few doggy friends over for a playdate.

Dogs are generally social animals, so having a playdate round will be great for socialising. As a result, you will have a happier and fitter dog.

Obstacle course using puzzles

If you look around the large pet stores or even Amazon, you will realise that you have a plethora of choice when it comes to buying puzzle feeders etc. However, you could save some money and create your own DIY toys from old bottles, socks, towels etc.

Puzzle toys by themselves are great fun. However, if your dog finds this easy, you could hide them around your house or around the living room and let your dog find them. This will add fun and mental stimulation. This can even be taken a step further by making the jump over things or having to run through the tunnel to get to the game. I am sure with imagination, you can come up with various options to make it fun and challenging.

Play a game of chase

Another great game and requires no equipment for you to try during winter and lockdowns. Simply play a game of chase around the house, making sure breakable objects are out of the way. 

If you have stairs, then simply running up and down the stairs and willowing your dog to chase you will provide physical exercise for the pair of you

This could be simply running up and down the stairs and letting your dog chase you. The general excitement of running up and down should make your dog eager to join in.

If you have an elderly dog or one that has joint issues such as Hip dysplasia or arthritis, then please be careful with this type of game. In fact, I would s gest sticking to one of the games listed above that are more gentle on the joints.

Training is a great way to exercise your dog in winter.

dog-food-5168940_640 Our Top Tips on how to exercise your dog in the winter

Training need not be boring. Why not get the fam y involved by issuing each member of the family with some treats (maybe even different treats per member to jazz it up) and then send them to different parts of the house.

Once this is done, call the dog and do some basic agility/training such as sit, down, sit, down, stand and give them a reward. 

When the dog has finished, this set of instructions have one of the other members of the family call them to the room they are in, which will help with recall and ask the dog to do some other simple commands such as a game of tuggy and then drop.

 When the dog has finished this set of commands, the family member rewards him, and the next member calls the dog to have some fun and do some more training exercises. 

Simply repeat this for every member of the family. 

Blow bubbles

Most dogs love chasing moving things such as bubbles.    So why not buy a bottle of dog-friendly bubbles and have some fun?

Further reading from Finchley Dog Walker

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