8 Ways to Exercise with Your Dog When It’s Too Cold to Go Outside
Exercise is essential for you and your dog’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. While there’s nothing like being outside in the sunshine walking or running, enjoying the fresh air and the sights, there are times where it’s too cold to go outside. Taking your dog outside when it’s too cold can damage their paw pads and their nose (never mind that it’s just unpleasant); however, you want both of you to stay active and in shape. These are eight ways to exercise with your dog when it’s too cold to go outside.
Have Fetch Races
Games of fetch can easily be played indoors (just don’t throw your dog’s toy too high). Use your living room or a long hallway—wherever there’s uncluttered space—and roll or toss your dog’s toy. Get your workout, too, by racing him to get the toy first. You’ll both be panting (and you’ll be laughing) within minutes.
March Up & Down the Stairs
This exercise is almost like a doggy boot camp. If you have stairs in your house, walk up and down the stairs with your dog. This quad work will be fun as you watch your dog bound up and down. Make it extra challenging by racing your dog (or at least trying to keep up as dogs can be pretty zippy when it comes to climbing stairs).
Squat, Tease, Leap
Swap your kettle bell for your dog’s favorite toy during your squat sets. Go to a large living space where you normally might do a DIY workout. Hold your dog’s favorite toy between both hands. Squat low. At the bottom of the squat, tap your dog’s nose lightly with the toy. Rise up and hold the toy high above your head to encourage your dog to jump for the toy. After every ten to twelve reps, let your dog have the toy for a few minutes, so they don’t lose interest in the activity.
Host a DIY Doggy Olympics
You’ve surely seen dog shows where dogs will race through obstacle courses and jump through hoops, obeying their parents and getting a pretty solid workout in while they’re at it. Use your exercise time indoors to create a DIY doggy obstacle course indoors. Add challenges that will get your dog leaping, hopping, crawling, and trotting around the room and throughout the house. Race alongside your dog as if you’re one of the trainers (this really does get your heartrate up) to give both of you a solid (and very fun) workout.
Get Centered with Doga
“Doga,” in case you’ve never heard of it, is dog yoga. Just like with humans, doga helps your pup experience calmness and lowered levels of anxiety as well as improved levels of overall health. Just grab a yoga mat, your dog, and flip on the Doga YouTube channel, do a sun salutation into a downward facing dog (joke intended) and start finding your inner balance along with your dog. When doing doga, of course, keep in mind any injuries you or your dog may have and work gently around those as you stretch and strengthen your limbs and core.
Take Turns on the Treadmill
If you have a treadmill, you can train your dog to walk on it. For those who live in extremely cold environments, this can be a great way to make sure that your dog gets a workout and maintains physical strength and cardiovascular health during those long winter months. After your dog finishes his workout, reward him with a treat and then hop on for your afternoon jog. Even though it’s not the same as a run outdoors, you’ll both feel great when you’re finished.
Train Your Dog to Run On or Off a Leash
While the cold might force you and your dog indoors during the winter months, it can also be a great time for you to train your dog to do new tricks. Perhaps your dog does a great job walking with you, but when it comes to running, your dog makes a break for it. Use the time indoors to practice jogging up and down the hall with your dog on a lead.
There are plenty of YouTube videos and tutorials on training your dog to run on a leash. If your dog is leash trained, then you can teach your dog to run beside you as you jog or cycle without a leash. Come warmer months, this will give you and your dog many more ways to exercise together.
Visit an Indoor Pet Center
Many communities, especially those with long cold seasons, will have indoor pet centers that give you and your pet space to do all of the things you’d normally do outdoors, which can range from big games of fetch with the ball or the frisbee to long jogs around a racing track. Some pet centers even have pools, so you and your dog can swim laps together even though it’s too cold to go outside. Make sure to get all of the safety protocols ahead of time so you can arrive prepared for any social distancing measures.
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