Winter means something different to everybody. A January day in California might be 50 degrees with patchy sunlight, while Alaska will hover above zero, staying covered in ice and snow. Whatever climate you find yourselves in, there are exercise options and solutions to stay fit and happy while the wind howls. It doesn’t always mean that you have to bring your pup every time you want to hit the slopes; rather try to find activities that you both can enjoy together indoors and out!
Jog the Stairs: Whether you have two story house, or live in an apartment complex, race up and down the stairs with your pup. He will love chasing you and you will both get a great chance to stay toned during the winter months.
Play Hide & Go Seek: This is not only a great training opportunity, but also a good chance for you and your puppy to have great bonding time. He will love the rewards and praise of finding you, and you will get a chance to help him practice commands like “stay” and “come.” If you have space enough in your living room, finish the game off with a light round of fetch using his favorite toy.
Get on the Treadmill: Take turns on the treadmill with your dog! Even staying on the treadmill, at a decent walking pace for 15-20 minutes a day will help you and your pup keep the blood pumping.
Go for a Walk with the Right Gear: Yes, we know there might be rain or snow – but don’t let that dissuade you. Snowy grounds might make walking an uncomfortable chore, and icy roads can be dangerous for soft paws, so suit up your dog with some nice winter boots. Rubber-soled boots with traction can help steady your dog on slippery ground, and keep his feet warm enough for long walks in the cold. Your dog will thank you for keeping his toes toasty!
When to Stay Inside: Some parts of the world make it very difficult to realistically be outside for more than a few unbearable minutes. Recognize when enough’s enough. If it is a sub-zero temperature day with a severe wind chill, don’t subject your loyal pal to those frigid temperatures. If it is so cold he is having a hard time moving his joints, or is whining, and trying constantly to go indoors, then it might be a good day for a wrestle/playtime indoors.
Think Outside the Box: If you and your pup are going stir-crazy, but think its still too chilly to be outside, find a nearby indoor pet playhouse. Many cities have large indoor rinks where dogs can run around. Or find pet spas, exercise classes, swimming lessons, and training sessions they can attend. This is a great way to socialize with other dogs, and burn off some energy while you’re at it!
Just because the weather is limiting, doesn’t mean your fun, exercise and playtime has to be. Now is the time to get creative and do the best with whatever space and time you’ve got.