When the weather shifts and the air gets crisp, neither you nor your dog probably wants to go outside and exercise. However, it’s still important for you to get in some activity throughout the week to keep you and your dog healthy. In fact, some dogs thrive in winter weather, so this season might be the best time to get them out and about. Here are some great ways to exercise with your dog this winter.
Before You Begin, Make Sure They’re Ready to Exercise
Before starting an exercise routine with your dog, make sure you check with their vet to ensure they can actually get out there and exercise. Some dogs will need an indoor exercise routine, and others will need to do outdoor exercise sporadically.
You should also make sure you have the right equipment to do outdoor exercising with your dog during the winter: a thick vest, a reflective collar and a durable silicone dog ID tag are some of the essentials. If your vet gives you the okay and you have all the necessary equipment, then you can get started on winter exercises with your dog!
Winter Exercises To Do with Your Dog
- Try Outdoor Skiing: Some winter dogs, such as Siberian huskies, are great at doing what’s called “mushing.” Either one or multiple dogs lead a sled or person on skis from one distance to another. There are many different types of mushing, but joining your local kennel club can help you and your pup learn to enjoy outdoor skiing together! It’s great exercise for you and your dog.
- Go on a Walk: Take your pet to a local park or walk around the neighborhood. Make sure you watch the temperatures and forecast for the day first. A walk is great exercise for you and your pet—the faster you walk, the faster you can get out of the cold! Rather than thinking about how cold you are outside, consider all the health benefits of walking. If you keep the physical and mental benefits of walking in mind, you’ll notice that you worry less about the temperature and look forward more to going on your walk.
- Visit the Pet Store: If being outside is still bothersome for you and/or your pet, do an indoor walk! Go to the pet store and do a few laps up and down the aisles. This way, you can get some exercise and pick up pet essentials: medicine, dog treats, toys and food. Your dog can also get to interact with other dogs—something you might not be able to do as often during the winter because fewer people visit the dog parks.
- Get In a Run: Running is a great way to stay healthy and warm when exercising outdoors. Take your dog out with you when you run! You don’t have to do a consistent run, either: Sometimes doing an interval run is the perfect exercise. That way, your body gets a chance to cool down between running intervals. Regardless of how you do it, a winter run is great for you and your dog!
- Use Your Stairs: If the weather’s too bad or your dog can’t do much exercising outdoors during the winter, you can do an indoor exercise routine! Use your stairs to accomplish this—play fetch with your dog up and down the stairs. Throw the ball up the stairs and have your dog go get it and bring it back down to you. They’ll be getting great cardio! For some exercise for yourself, do a squat when your dog brings the ball back to you. Raise your arms above your head as you squat down, and then lower them to throw the ball as you stand up. If you have a puppy, this is also a good way to practice basic dog training commands.
- Consider Dog Yoga: Did you know there’s such a thing as yoga for you and your dog? That’s right! Doga, or yoga for dogs and their owners, is a perfect exercise routine to do at any point during the year. There are classes all over, even virtually, that are perfect for both dogs and humans alike. You will do yoga poses with your dog, helping them transition from pose to pose. During the winter, it’s a great exercise to do indoors that keeps you both away from the cold.
- Fetch: A classic game of fetch outdoors is still great exercise for you and your dog. If there’s snow on the ground, it provides for new terrain for you and your dog to handle—making you both work harder and exercise more! To give yourself some exercise in this routine, you can move while your dog runs to fetch the ball. Move closer, move out to the side, run farther back—the possibilities are endless! You could also do some lunges, squats or jumping jacks to keep your blood flowing as your dog runs to find the ball and back to you.
- Play Tag: Teach your dog to play tag! Tap their nose and then run away from them—they’ll probably follow you! Run all around the park, your yard or any other space. Then, when you’ve been “chased” by your dog enough times, switch it up and chase your dog! They’ll know you’ve changed to chasing them when you start running at them. They’ll either run away or run toward you—either way, running around your yard and chasing each other is a great way to introduce cardio into outdoor time.
It’s Good for Both of You
Doing exercise on your own during the winter is hard enough, and incorporating your dog into it can sometimes complicate things. The good news is that your dog has to go outside anyway—so why not turn it into a workout for both of you? Your dog’s daily time outdoors can benefit you both when it comes to your health and exercise. Make sure your vet is comfortable with your pet doing outdoor exercise, and then find some fun and simple activities to do starting out. You’ll soon realize how fun it is to exercise with your dog during the winter!