It is important for pets to have some sort of physical activity, but winter weather may make it difficult to get outside as often. The key is to exercise with dogs; engage and entertain your pet while giving them a healthy workout. This little bit of added activity is good for them- as well as for you!
Try these exercises and activities this winter with your dogs:
Tag, You’re It
Perhaps the greatest exercise that you can do with your dog is to play with them! Play “Tag” and encourage your dog to chase you around the room, house, or yard. Dogs will pick up on your playful energy and instinctively know to chase and move.
How about a game of indoor or outdoor fetch? Again, most dogs will instinctively know to retrieve, though some may not relinquish the toy back after fetching. Instead of expecting the dog to go and get it, toss the toy and race them for it!
Another idea is to pair your own workout with a game of fetch. Do sit-ups with your pet’s favorite toy in-hand; each time you sit up, act like you are tossing the toy, but don’t. Your dog will run- whether the toy is actually thrown or not. Change things up by really throwing the toy every few tosses and encourage them to bring it back to you.
Walk Every Day
If you do nothing else with your dog, take them for a walk each and every day. The health benefits are amazing- for both you and your pet. Shake things up with some interval training exercises and enjoy the benefits of speeding up your metabolism. Walk with your dog for a minute, followed by a minute of jogging followed by running backward for a minute. Add a minute of sideways shuffling, and then return to walking for another minute. Repeat these activities three times and you have completed a brisk 15 -minute walk with your pet. No specialized training, skills, or equipment is necessary!
Try Something Extreme
If you really want to get extreme, look a little closer at the sport called Skijoring, which is a pairing of mushing with dogs and cross-country skiing. It is also reminiscent of dog sledding, only your dog is harnessed to you with skis and poles to keep on moving. This is a great activity to try if you’re planning a trip to a climate that gets regular snow.
Get Downward Dog
Dog yoga, or doga, is another activity that you can do together, inside, when the weather turns foul. Check out online videos for practice advice and tutelage.
Learn Something New
Check local resources, shelters, and libraries for classes that you and your dog may sign up for. This might include things like a swimming group or an agility class. Plus, these group outings can help socialize your dog and get them accustomed to being around other animals.
The adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is not necessarily true. Don’t let your pet become complacent this winter; challenge them with a new game, skill, or activity to keep them interested and intrigued.
Try these ideas to get your pet a healthy workout this winter- or any time. Need veterinary advice or care? Visit our brand new, state of the art Emergency Vet and Surgery center in Columbia, SC, CVETS. We offer emergency treatment and specialized care for pets throughout the region. Call or visit us online to learn more.