So its cold outside, and the amount of daylight hours is short, but your dog does not sleep through winter, and it’s vital that your dog gets their daily exercise. On days when bad weather makes walks impossible, you can still give your pup the exercise they need with these ideas for winter fun.
- Play a game
Hide-and-seek is a great way to get your dog up and moving. You can hide a treat or her favorite toy, but it’s better to make her come find you. Start by tossing a treat to get her to go away from you, and then hide in another part of the house. This game can really tire your pup out as she rushes around searching, and it’s good for strengthening the “come” command.
- Test your dog’s nose.
Dogs have incredibly powerful scenting skills, so exercises that call for your pal to use their nose are especially motivating. Make them work for their dinner by making an obstacle course she has to get through to find her food.
- Treadmills and indoor walking.
Use a human treadmill—but take the right provisions. Take a few days familiarizing your dog with how it works. Use a slow speed and stand in front of the treadmill with a treat. Over days, slowly increase the speed and the amount of time your pup spends on the treadmill. Work up to the same amount of time you normally spend on walks.
Being indoors gives you a great opportunity to practice targeting with your dog. Teach her to touch her nose to the back of your hand on command; this will make her focus on a target. It’s a great exercise because it gives you an activity you can do together. And once your pup has learned how to do this, you can use it whenever you want her to stop what she’s doing and focus.
- Don’t be a wimp…get outside
Most bigger dogs love snow, and they can get a great workout by plowing through it. Spend 30 to 40 minutes in the snow, and your dog will get a workout that leaves her pooped—and her muscles toned. When you come in, be sure to wash your dog’s paws to get off any salt.