Winter Activities for Your Dog

Winter is quickly approaching, ready to make a hermit of you and your pet. You may be tempted to stay under the covers, but your dog still need exercise. Grab a leash and get ready for some fun winter activities.

Outdoor Winter Activities

During the cold winter months, you should cut back on the amount of time you spend outside with your dog. Rather than taking long trips to the park, have shorter, more energetic bursts of outdoor play time. Throw a ball outside of your apartment building or go for a jog around the block. This will help keep you both warm. Active dogs may be bummed that their outdoor time is shorter, which is why frequency becomes important.

Larger dogs with lots of fur–labs, German shepherds and retrievers, for example–can tolerate cold better than short haired, smaller dogs. Be sure your small pet is wearing a doggie sweater that covers it from tail to neck and that wraps around its belly. However, sweaters do not make your dog impervious to the cold, so keep a close eye on it. Dogs lose body heat through their paw pads, ears and respiratory system. If your dog is dangerously cold, it will seem lethargic. Take it inside before this occurs by being aware of things like shivering. Do not leave your dog outside unattended as you cannot see the signs of hypothermia.

Indoor Playtime

You probably love going to parks with your dog because they have so much space. Your apartment, on the other hand, most likely does not. Find ways to get your dog moving when you’re inside. Games like tug-of-war can be played with relatively little available space.

Play “find it” games with your dog. This will get your furry friend up and moving without barreling down your furniture. Hide a treat and tell your dog to “find it.” The smell alone will be enough to get it going. You can also play this game with people. Have one person go hide in the apartment while the other person encourages the dog to seek its playmate. The person who is hiding should know the dog well. You can tell it “go find Mom,” or “go find Sam.”

Another great game is “go wild and freeze.” Start dancing or moving around your apartment until the dog joins in. Then suddenly stop and tell it to sit or lay down. Wait till the dog obeys, then go crazy again. This gets your dog’s heart rate up while teaching it self control.

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