How to Keep your Pup Active in the Winter

dog winter activities - Happy dog playing in the snow

As pup parents, we know how important it is to keep our furry children active. Maintaining an exercise routine with your dog is critical not only for their physical health but their mental health, as well!  In fact, a lack of exercise during the winter can bring about unwanted weight gain and sadness.  The pent-up energy can even lead to some unpleasant behavioral issues!  But we also know how difficult it can be to keep up with your dog’s needs during these cold winter months.  Luckily, there are multiple of fun indoor and outdoor activities you can do with your dog!  Here are some of our favorite dog winter activities to keep your dog active, engaged, and happy. 

Fun indoor dog winter activities to keep your dog active this winter

1. Play fetch indoors!

Try bringing the fun inside and play fetch with your dog!  We recommend either an open area in a living room or a long hallway in your home as optimal spaces for playing fetch.  Before the fun begins, make sure to clear your area of valuables and delicate objects that could easily break due to roughhousing. And now let the games begin!  Your pup will be tuckered out and happy after a long game of fetch.

 2. Play hide-and seek-in your home! 

Another fun indoor dog winter activity is playing hide-and-seek!  There are two ways that you can hide-and-seek with your dog. You can play hide-and-seek with their food by hiding a couple of treats around the house.  Your doggy’s mission would be to sniff the treats out and figure out where they are hidden.  Or, alternatively, you can play a traditional hide-and-seek game.  First, distract your puppy by throwing a treat and then hide in a different room while she tries to find you in the home!  Dogs, like children, love the “hide and seek” game!

3. Create an indoor agility course for your pup!

Agility is an important skill for dogs.  If you have an especially energetic pup, dog agility training is an amazing way to direct that energy into something productive and beneficial.  You can create your own indoor agility course by using household items such as blankets, stools, cushions, and/or boxes to create a DIY obstacle course.  There are many fun, creative indoor agility courses that owners have come up with on YouTube. Check out this video of a homemade obstacle course that only cost this owner under $50 to make.  If creating DIY projects is not your cup of tea, you can also look into agility training programs near you and enroll your pup today!

4. Teach your dog some new tricks!

By teaching your doggy new tricks, you are practicing your communication and training skills as an owner.  You are also keeping your dog’s mind sharp and active.  There are so many helpful resources online, such as these YouTube tutorials. You can even brush up on practicing your obedience training.  However, if you need a little guidance from professionals, there are many facilities that offer obedience training.

Creative outdoor winter dog activities

While our previous suggestions are activities you can do indoors, there are a number of outdoor dog winter activities that you and your pup would enjoy.

1. Play in the snow!

You can bundle up and go outside or go the dog park for a walk and play in the snow!  Watching your dog frolic in the snow is one of the most enjoyable experiences.  Just make sure that your dog is properly equipped for the weather.  If you decide to go outside and the temperature is below 32 degrees, pay close attention to signs of shivering, lack of movement, whining, and general uneasiness.  To find out more information on what signs to look out for when playing with your dog outside, check out this guide from Central California SPCA Humane Society. 

2. Try a fun Winter Scavenger Hunt!

An outdoor scavenger hunt will require your dog to practice his tracking skills, which is a great way to keep his problem-solving skills as sharp as possible.  The winter months are actually a perfect time to challenge your pup because the sharp, cold air and snow can make tracking more difficult.  For this scavenger hunt, hide your furry friend’s favorite treats and toys around your yard and see what motivates your dog to get up and find them!  This outdoor scavenger hunt is a great way to keep your dog active mentally and physically during these winter months. 

3. Go sledding! 

Grab your sled and take your dog to a nearby sledding hill.  If you have little kids, you can also bring them along for the fun!  Sledding is a fun outdoor family and dog winter activity!  You can have your dog run along as you and your children sled down the hill.  If you have a very strong dog, like a husky, you can consider training him or her to pull the sled for you!  We advise against your dog pulling a sled with just a collar because the heavyweight could hurt their neck.  If it is just your little kids on the sled, make sure that your pup is wearing a harness like this one so that your pup does not get injured.  Just keep in mind that your puppy should not be pulling more weight than they can handle! 

And don’t forget to have fun!

Every moment you can get to have fun and create memories with your dog counts!  Their lives are way too short to miss out on interacting with you and engaging in fun activities because it is cold out.  Keep it fun, creative, and your dog will thank you tremendously for it.

If you ever need support to keep your dog active, reach out to us at K9U! 

At K9 University Chicago, our canine experts are here to assist you with any of your dog’s needs.  We offer doggie daycare and day training camps — both of which you can register for here!  If you are traveling for the holidays, we also offer top-rated boarding services.  

We would love to hear from you!

Please contact us if you would like to discuss different options on how to keep your pup active during the winter months!