Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of contents
- Top safety tips for exercising your dog in winter
- Some great ways to bond and exercise your dog in winter without going out
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. A nice daily walk to help break the day up, have a toilet break and relief the boredom but 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 once it gets cold and wet, we want to spend less time outdoors. If you have a smaller breed or a short-haired dog, then 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 and go out for the 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 nice 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 when you touch hi feeds cold, then 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 kind of balm-like Musherss’ 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 of time, which may result in hypothermia, take shorter walks. By taking 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. Playing 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. Simply throw our dogs 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 seek can provide physical and mental activity for your dog. Simply find somewhere in the house to conceal yourself. Once you are 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
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 further 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 some 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
simple as 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 suggest 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.
Training need not be boring. Why not get the family 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 calls 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 for every member of the family.
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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