It can be difficult to give your dog the exercise they need during winter, especially if you are subjected to ice, heavy snow and freezing temperatures. As well as these environments being uncomfortable for you, they are also not ideal for you pooch, which can leave you both unmotivated.
However, there are ways you can get your dog moving - and you by extension - so they are exercising even when they can't be outside for long. Games can help you your pooch exercise both inside and out, keeping them healthy, happy and entertained.
Hide and seek
This is a great game if you are both stuck indoors because of the winter weather. Simply distract your dog with a treat and move to another room in the house to hide quietly.
Your pooch will then try and find you, which can tire them out as they rush around the house looking. Once they find you give them plenty of praise and then hide again.
You can keep going as long as you like, calling to your dog if they have problems finding you early on. They'll soon get better at discovering your hiding place.
If you have a treadmill, you can use it for your dog so long as you are safe with it. While you can get treadmills especially for dogs, human ones also work for your pooch as long as you take the right precautions.
Start by getting your dog used to it, which can take a few days. Let them have a sniff around and stand on it before you set it to move.
When it comes to getting your dog walking on it, set it to the lowest speed and stand at the front of the treadmill with a treat. Over the course of days, you can slowly build the speed of the treadmill and the time that your dog spends on it.
This way, you can have them on the treadmill for the same amount of time as you would usually walk them outside. This will keep them fit and healthy until the weather gets milder and you can both enjoy your usual walks again.
Test their nose
Dogs have great noses that allow them to sniff things out. This can come in handy when trying to get them to exercise indoors during winter.
You can hide treats around your house and let your dog hunt for them, helping to improve their sniffing ability. Just be sure to remember where you hid all the treats so you can make sure they got them all!
If you want a more controlled way to have them sniff things out, create an obstacle course or hide their food in a toy. Something like the Kong Original can help hide their food to test their nose and make them work for their treat, keeping your pooch active.
Have other dogs over
If your pooch gets on with other dogs, why not meet up with friends and family members who have pooches of their own? This can get your pet playing and exercising inside, as well as getting more exercise outside in a shorter space of time.
Make sure each of the dogs has their own toys and you reward good behaviour, but otherwise you can just let them play.
If your dog is very friendly, you could also see if there are pet classes in your area that will let them make new friends while playing inside during the winter. Socialisation is important for your pet and this is a great way to keep them healthy, let them have fun and for you to meet other dog owners in your area.
Ignore the weather
Of course, you can also try and get outside as much as you can. Even if you go out for a short amount of time compared to your usual walks, it will benefit your dog; especially when combined with indoor games.
If you're worried about how your dog will deal with the cold, wrap them up in a coat when you head out and ensure you dry them off with a clean blanket when you get home. Most dogs love snow and are likely to have fun playing in it, even if only for a little while.
Written by: Hannah Dyball