Dogs need constant mental stimulation and physical exercise in order to be happy and healthy. Physical exercise and mental stimulation improves their mood contributing to positive behaviours as well as regulating their weight.
Keeping dogs active, especially in the winter months, will decrease their anxiety; anxious dogs tend to become restless and turn to destructive behavior such as chewing on shoes and destroying furniture. Consistent exercise and mental stimulation will keep their minds sharp and their bodies young as they get older. Age-appropriate activities that keep your pup moving is the best way to ensure that your pets joints stay healthy. Keeping your dog engaged with life not only improves their quality of life but it also strengthens the bond you have with your dog. It is not always easy to keep your pets active year-round, especially during the winter when it feels better to stay indoors.
It is important to stay determined and to be consistent with your pets and to keep them active even during the cold months of winter. Here are some fun activities you can do with your dog in the chilly winter months.
5 Winter Dog Activities
- Take a Hike – Taking a hike with your dog provides a nice change of scenery, for both you and your dog. It gives them a chance to check out new scents, explore new views and play in the snow. All you need is a good winter coat for your dog so that your dog can enjoy the benefits of nature with you. Hiking in the snow can be a stress reliever and great exercise for both you and your pup.
- Skijoring – If you and your pup are looking for adventure on a snowy day try skijoring. Skijoring is a combination of dog sledding and cross-country skiing. This activity is perfect for medium and large sized athletic dogs. All you need is a harness for your dog, clip into your skis, let your dog run through the snow while you enjoy gliding behind them.
- Putting your dog to work – On days when spending time outdoors is not possible, switching up the way you feed your pup is a great way to stimulate your dog and work out their physical energy indoors. Giving your dog a challenge that is mental can tire them out just as much as taking them on a walk. Slow feeders are dog food bowls designed to keep your dog engaged, allowing them to slow down as they figure out the best way to get their food out of the maze. Hiding their treats and moving their food dish to a new area encourages your dog to use their natural instincts to sniff out the prize.
- Indoor Obstacle Course – This may take more time and effort but it is well worth it. Use things around your house such as blankets, chairs and brooms to create a makeshift obstacle course. You can teach your dog how to navigate the course and practice tricks and commands they are already familiar with.
- Play date – Dogs enjoy spending time outside, especially when there are other dogs to play with. Try arranging a playdate and invite a friend with a pup to enjoy winter activities together. The weather might make it so you aren’t able to go on long walks but you can still enjoy time throwing snowballs and playing fetch. The dogs will play together and tire each other out while you catch up with a friend.