Dogs are a lot like people in many ways. There are some dogs that love being outdoors no matter what the weather and some that would prefer never to go outside if it is cold, wet or wintery.
No matter where you live bad winter weather from snow to rain and storms to ice can make exercising your pet a real challenge. Even if your dog would like to go outside, sometimes it is simply not safe, so finding ways to be creative about getting some exercise is always important.
Walks and Dog Parks
For those dogs that love to be out in the cold, and if it isn’t too cold or too wet or icy, a trip to the dog park or just to a safe outdoor area at this time of year can be a great experience. You will find there are far fewer dogs and owners out and about, allowing you and your dog to have some quality time together.
Dogs that love running about in the snow will enjoy playing a game of chase, fetch or even Frisbee. They will also love to just dig around and act like puppies, particularly with the first few flurries of snow of the season. Consider taking the dog to the park at the warmest part of the day, which will be in the mid-afternoon. On a sunny day, this also makes for some great photo opportunities of your dog playing in the snow.
For dogs that are less likely to want to be outdoors, still try to get in your daily walk outside. Walking outside is more than just physical exercise, it gives the dog some mental exercise as well. Smelling around, meeting other people and dogs and just getting out of the house can help any dog be more relaxed and less likely to get into things if they are left alone while the family is at work or school.
Dog Workout Routine
For a good workout routine, you may want to set up a little course in your backyard or in your basement or the garage, depending on the size of your dog and your space limitations.
If you are going to set up the course outside and include teeter totters, tunnels or other types of obstacles make sure they are free of ice or snow before putting your dog through his or her paces. Snow and ice can make these agility obstacles slippery and may result in the dog falling and potentially causing an injury.
Indoor dog routines can be a lot of fun, particularly if you have small to medium sized dogs. They can include jumps made of simple PVC pipe, footstools for benches and PVC pipe glued to plastic bases for weaving through.
Try taking a class with your dog as well. Many dog clubs and community centers offer indoor agility and obedience classes. Flyball is also a great option or a dog that loves to fetch and these are year round activities that provide exercise, mental stimulation and great socialization opportunities.