It’s important that dogs get enough exercise every single day, and the winter season is no exception to the rule. Even though it’s cold and the days are short, it is still vital to get your dog’s energy out somehow. Here are six winter exercise tips for your dog that can help him get his daily exercise and help the both of you bond on these dark and cold winter days.
Play a game with your dog. This can be the usual fetch game, or you can play hide and seek and have your pooch run around to find you after you distract him with a treat. This is exercise for both of you and you can use the game to reinforce your dog’s skills (‘sit’ before you throw the treat to distract him, ‘come’ when they find you).
Challenge his nose. Something I do with Lucas when he doesn’t get enough time outside or inside exercising is making him work for his dinner. I normally pack his meal into a kong and then hide it somewhere. He uses his sense of smell to find the kong and then spends all of his energy trying to eat his dinner. He is always exhausted afterwards, so it’s perfect for both of us. You can hide dog treats in a box or around the room so that your dog runs around to find them. Anything that gets them up, working, and moving is perfect.
Use dog treadmills. A dog treadmill (or a human treadmill with the proper precautions) could be exactly what your pooch needs. Set the speed on slow to start and stand in front of your dog with a treat until you are confident you can increase the speed. Some time spent on the treadmill will tire your dog out and give him all the exercise he needs.
Sign up for a dog class. Search locally for dog classes near you that can provide your dog with the exercise he needs. Something lie swimming or an indoor agility class like flyball. This also gives your pet an opportunity to socialize and bond with other dogs. Win win.
Practice targeting. Targeting is a great exercise you can do with your dog. Teach your dog to touch their nose to the back of your hand on command, which will focus their attention and prevent them from being able to bark. This exercise can be used when out on walks or in a crowded play full of distracting humans or puppies. This command with center your dog and make them more focused on what you need them to be doing. Try tossing a treat on the other side of the room and then commanding them back to you to get them really moving.
Just go outside! It’s definitely freezing, but if you both bundle up you can go for a quick walk outside and get some fresh air and your bodies moving. If it’s snowing, spend a bit of time with your dog running around in the snow, but make sure to wipe the potential salt from sidewalks and driveways afterwards. Again, these activities are good for both of you and once you’re back in the warm house you’ll forget how cold it was!
What else do you do in the winter to keep your dog fit and happy? Let us know!