Winter Workout: Ideas To Get Your Dog Moving When It's Too Cold To Play Outside
Winter is rough on all of us -- including our furry friends. While we want to keep warm under our comforters, our dogs have to go outside to do their business, the weather may not be warm enough or dry enough to do much more than that. But dogs need their exercise! Here are a few ideas to get your dog moving when it's too cold to play outside.
A Good Climb
While we only think of stairs as a means of getting from one floor to another, in the winter, your stairs can be a valuable exercise tool for you and your pup. Take the time you would normally use for walking your dog and race him up and down the stairs a few times. You know how to get him going -- you just need to use that energy to guide him up and down the stairs fast enough for him to shake out the pent-up energy he accumulates during the colder months. Not only does he get his workout, but a few times up and down the stairs may help you zap the extra calories you've been getting from all the rich holiday food.
Get rid of the extra energy using your pup's mind as well as his body by teaching him new tricks. It takes a bit of research, thought and patience from you, but it provides a great opportunity to give your dog something to concentrate on, make his mind and body a little stronger, and both of you get the benefit of spending time together. New tricks also get you off the couch and your dog out of his pet bed so your muscles don't atrophy in those months when movement is limited by weather. For those days you don't feel like teaching, embark on a simple game of tug-of-war with your dog. Be careful -- it can make some dogs a little too aggressive, but for a lot of dogs, it's a quick fix for a much-needed energy release. After a few rounds, you may start to see some muscle development in your own arms, so both you and your dog benefit.
Olly, Olly, Oxen Free
Dogs are hunters by nature and working a few hunting exercises into their indoor play appeals to their instincts. Have him find you with a spirited game of hide and seek -- have him sit or stay while you go hide and then call to him. Call him loudly and then call him quietly to keep it interesting, and when he stumbles upon you, give him a good hug and a treat. Another game you can try is "Go Find It". Hide his favorite toy or ball and tell him to go find it. If you hide it well enough, the game could keep him busy for hours longer than it would to take to go on a walk.
Dogs love relaxing just as much as they love exercising -- with Doga (dog yoga), your dog gets both! Not all dogs are into it, but for those who do like it, it helps stretch their muscles and keep them strong without being too strenuous. You can get a good stretch in as well, so even when you can't go out walking with your dog, you're still getting in some muscle movement that's hard to come by when there's two feet of snow on the ground.