With winter time right around the corner, keeping your dog exercising and running around at your local dog park or around the neighborhood have to be less frequent. Not only are you feeling the effects of the cold weather, but also your furry baby. It is very important to keep your young dog active at this time as he or she is still growing and you want to instill great habits at a young age. We are going to show you 11 different easy activities you can do to exercise your puppy this winter.
1. Play Hide & Seek With Snacks & Treats
If you are like me and can’t stand the cold weather, you will look for anything you can do to keep yourself inside to avoid the chilly temperatures. Any activity that I can find for me and my dog that doesn’t involve me stepping foot outside when the freezing temperatures arrives is a win in my book.
While the sound of the treat jar opening is enough to cause my puppy to get enough exercise, there is a quick and easy way to get your puppy more active at snack time. Using your puppy’s favorite treats, strategically place them around the house at snack time to make your puppy work to find the treats. It will be a fun game to play with your canine and will have them constantly moving to find the next one.
You can also try this with new toys as well. I have found that using toys that have treat pockets in them works quite well. By doubling up a treat with a toy, you will get double the amount of activity as your dog will be searching for the new toy and playing with the toy once they have found it.
2. Teach Your Puppy To Use A Treadmill (Safely)
For those who love to walk their dog outside in the warmer months, the thought of bringing that to a halt can be worrisome. While most winters will provide some nice days to get out of the house and allow for an hour or so of walking, it is always nice to have an alternative to keep your dog happy and active.
A sudden stop in outdoor activities can be hard on a dog as they do not realize why they are not going on walks anymore. However, you can use an indoor treadmill made specifically for pets or even a human treadmill to simulate their favorite part of the day.
While not everyone has the money for a pet-specific treadmill, there are ways to outfit your standard treadmill to make them pet friendly. I would suggest reading up on a few different kits and the proper techniques of using a human treadmill before venturing this route to keep both you and your furry friend safe.
This can be a great way to not only allow your dog to get some more exercise, but to keep them in good spirits when we all tend to get a little lazy.
3. Find A Local Dog Daycare
If your puppy loves to play with other dogs at your local dog park, the cold winter months may bring that to a screeching halt. These types of environments are great for a growing puppy as they learn how to play with others and how to stay active without even realizing that they are exercising.
One way to let your puppy play with other dogs in the winter is by locating a local doggy daycare. These daycares will allow you to drop off your dog for the day and allow him or her to play with other dogs in the safety of an indoor facility around trained professionals. These are great places for your puppy to develop new friendships and even learn a few new tricks from other dogs.
For those with busy schedules or who have busy winters with the holidays, this is a great way to allow your dog to have time to exercise and play while you are at work or running errands. My favorite part of doggy daycares in the winter is that my puppy can have fun all day and cuddle with me after work when I am too tired to play.
4. Start Developing An Indoor Training Routine
The winter is a great time to start developing an indoor training routine. Since most of us are not wanting to brave the cold weather, what better time to start learning basic commands and a few new tricks? While this is not going to be the most effective exercise, it is a way to knock out two things at once – train your dog and keep them active.
When training basic commands like sit, lie down, and turn around may not seem like an exercise as strenuous as walking or playing at the dog park, you may be surprised. The excitement of puppy interacting with you through the training can increase their heart rate which is the goal of most exercises.
If you have the room, you can even teach your dog to sit in one spot and run to you on command which is sure to give your puppy the exercise they need during the winter months.
5. Take Them To An Agility Park
We have all seen the dogs on the Westminster Dog Show and have wanted to try a few of those routines with our puppies. However, most of us do not have the funds or the skillset to build an elaborate set of equipment to allow our puppies to run through, across, and over like the professionals do. This is where an agility park can help.
If you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a dog agility park, this is going to be an easy way for your puppy to get more than enough exercise for the day. Most dog agility parks have many of the same features as the Westminster Show’s field so your dog can live out their dream of competing against the best.
If you are having trouble finding an agility park, you may want to check out your local dog parks as I have seen many of them having a few of the props used for agility training.
As a last resort, you can check out YouTube for some cheap DIY dog agility equipment. There are many videos on how to build your own courses with everyday household items.
6. Have A Puppy Play Date
As mentioned earlier, if your puppy frequently visited a dog park where they got to interact with many different dogs on a daily basis, the winter time may be a bit depressing for them. Dogs are very much like humans and need frequent interaction with other dogs to stay active and happy. Planning a puppy play date can solve these winter blues and allow for some much needed activity time.
One of the best ways to do this is to connect with your family or friends who also have dogs to see if they would like to have a puppy play date. This can be anything from visiting the dog park together to allowing them to bring their puppy over to run around the house. This is a win-win as it allows for both you and your dog to socialize at the same time.
If you do not have any close friends who have pets or are new to a town where you may not know anyone, I have the solution for you. There are many different smartphone apps that allow you to interact and schedule a puppy play date with other pet owners so that you and your puppy can make some lifelong friends.
7. Play A Game Of Tag
As you most likely already know, most dogs love to play tag. Tag is a game that provides both the pet and the owner with a high intensity exercise that will keep you both active in the winter. You may even be able to get rid of that gym membership you never use as well!
Tag is best played outdoors, depending on the size of your puppy, due to close quarters and breakable items inside the home. However, in the winter time, you can set up your home to allow for some tag by rearranging your furniture to a more open concept to keep your pet from knocking anything over.
For smaller dogs, this is obviously much easier and can even be done in an extra bedroom that you no longer use. Simply chase your dog around and allow them to chase you back to have a fun exercise game you can play daily with your puppy.
8. Schedule A Day At A Pet Gym
One of the newest additions to the pet world, much similar to an agility park, is a pet gym – a gym designed specifically for you furry friend. These gyms are starting to pop up all over the country and are a great all in one solution for your puppy to get some exercise, learn new tricks, and even meet some new friends. This is also a great place for you to meet some new dog lover friends as well for some future puppy play dates!
Pet gyms come in all shapes and sizes with different equipment ranging from treadmills, balance balls, agility courses, and much more. Your pet will have a blast training by themselves or playing with other dogs as they work their way through the courses.
While these gyms can be enjoyed all year round, they are extremely popular in the winter where cold temperatures can make playing outside less than desirable.
9. Utilize Indoor Stairs
So what if you are snowed in or absolutely cannot deal with the cold weather outside? Utilize a set of stair just about anywhere to give you and your puppy a workout that is sure to tire you both out.
If you have a staircase in your home, you basically have a home gym ready to use at anytime for your puppy. Simply attach your leash to your puppy and walk, jog, or run up your stairs for a quick and easy workout for the both of you.
For those who can’t imagine running up a flight of stair multiple times, here is a little trick. At snack time, place your treat at the top of the staircase to make your puppy work for their treat. This is a great way to add a little exercise to their day.
10. Play Indoor Fetch
Fetch may very well be one of the oldest games known to dogs and for great reasons, it’s fun, they get plenty of exercise, and it provides constant human interaction. While most people play fetch with their puppies outside to allow their dogs to run around more freely, this can also be done inside as well.
Depending on the dog’s size, and clumsiness, indoor fetch is a great way to get some exercise in on those cold winter days. To motivate your puppy, try getting them a new toy so that they are more excited to fetch it and see it as a new game to build an indoor fetching habit.
11. Brave The Cold
If all else fails, you can always brave the cold and go for a quick walk around the block. Most winters usually have a few days where the wind isn’t so bad and you can work in some type of activity for your puppy to get a little sun and more room to run around.
There are many different doggy sweaters, socks, and other articles of clothing to keep your dog warm while they play outside as well. Investing in some of these might make outdoor play time a lot easier for the both of you.
One of the best things about braving the cold is that dog parks and agility parks are usually less crowded as most people choose to exercise at home during these months. Your puppy will enjoy having the park to themselves!
So there you have it, 11 ways on how to exercise your puppy in winter. To wrap things up, you are going to want to keep your puppy happy and active through the cold winter months as their schedules are disrupted and play time is more minimal. Even the smallest of activities can mean the world to your dog and allow them to get the exercise that they need to stay in shape and live a healthy lifestyle. While these are just a few of the different activities I like to do with my dog, there are plenty of others out there as well!