Unless you’re an avid skier or a Siberian Husky, winter might not be the easiest time to get outside and exercise. That being said, it does not mean you should just shrug off all physical activity with your pup until nicer weather returns in a few months. There are plenty of ways to still get your dog the exercise they need, even if the weather truly is frightful outside.
Although the temptation to stay curled up with your pup and a blanket can be immense, it is important to get up and stay active with your pup. There are a few easy ways to stimulate your dog physically and mentally to make the winter months easier to endure and enjoy.
• Mental Stimulation – Food and treats can be a great reward system for performing certain tasks. However, the simple act of eating can be turned in to a beneficial activity that your pup will love and look forward to. There are plenty of toys that can be used as feeding tools. These will make the process of eating a problem that your dog needs to solve. The mental stimulation and physical activity that results from this process will only benefit them, especially in the winter.
• Training – Winter gives dog owners the best time to work on training activities. Mentally stimulating your dog through the winter and reinforcing training exercises is a great activity that benefits the whole family. Whether you work on how to greet strangers or implement a whole new array of tricks to show off at the dog park, the downtime of winter is the perfect opportunity to train with your dog.
If your pup loves the snow, it will be exceptionally hard to get them to stay inside. If that is the case, it is important to make sure they are warm enough to enjoy the snow without experiencing the harmful effects of the cold. Here are a few ways to keep your dog active and exercising throughout the winter. As with any outdoor activity, always avoid the coldest part of the day, high winds, or heavy precipitation.
• The Dog Park – If the weather permits, take your pup to their favorite park to romp and play in the snow with their friends. As long as your dog is comfortable in the weather, this is a great activity to maintain a routine and keep socialization up during the winter.
• Agility Equipment – Although somewhat rare to find, agility parks do exist out there for owners to take their dogs to. However, if you have the yard space and ability, plenty of equipment is available for you to install on your own property for your dog to climb, jump, and play on year-round. (link to JAP dog park equipment)
• Normal Activity – Again, as long as the weather permits and your dog is well-equipped to handle it, maintain normal activity like walks, jogs, and hikes.
If you find the above methods too hard to maintain throughout the winter, there is another way for your dog to receive the exercise they need without an additional commitment from their owner. For many, the weather might just be too cold to take your dog outside or your working hours don’t permit a nice afternoon walk with them. For those that just can’t find the time, there is a solution.
• Doggie Daycare – This is by far the best way to keep your dog happy and well-exercised through the winter. Not all daycares are created equally and be sure to vet your care provider before sending your dog off for the day. If located in or around Lakewood, New York, Happy Hounds Hotel and Day Spa offers the complete package to care for and exercise your dog through the winter. Doggie daycare can provide the daily exercise, socialization, training, and grooming your dog needs in the cold weather months.