Would you rather snuggle up inside in the winter than be outside having to exercise your dog stimulated? There are days I shudder at going out into the cold and wish my dog, Henry, and I could hibernate until Spring. Although that does sound like a great idea, it’s not practical. So, what are some great dog winter activities you can do with your pup when you’d rather stay inside with a warm cup of cocoa? Yep, there are a few that you may not even mind so much and your dog is sure to approve. Grab a warm cup of something and let’s have some fun looking at these winter activities for dogs.
*Update: February 11, 2023
Budget Tip: Most of the activities you can do with your dog in winter cost zero dollars or a minimal amount. The major benefit of keeping your dog active in winter is that he/she stays healthy. As you probably know, the key to being good dog parents is keeping our pups healthy. Sometimes it's easier than other times. So, if it involves a doggie daycare or dog walker, it's definitely a dog wagging good thing.
1. Learn a new trick or take a new class
My dog, Henry loves training and learning new behaviors. You can even take a multitude of classes or learn new behaviors for free. That’s perfect for your budget and perfect for staying home and training. You can take a basic obedience class, work on heeling or learn a new trick. Honestly, there are many great dog trainers available virtually for free or at an economical price. Just make sure you have a great internet connection.
Many dogs thrive in a training environment. My dog, Henry, comes alive when he knows we are going to train on anything, whether it’s a trick or a behavioral issue. He loves that engagement. I know his mind is fully engaged, which is great!
Learning a new trick or basic command has additional benefits.
It stimulates the mind along with increasing and strengthening the bond with you. It’s really a win-win winter dog activity.
2. Doggie snow games
This is mostly for those that don’t mind being out in the snow or cold. Henry loves to play in the snow. If I chase him, then it’s even better. Or if I throw snowballs near him that he can eat, it’s the best day ever! If your dog likes to play with toys, you can even play fetch in the snow. Those dogs that are specially built for the snow with thick furs, like Huskies or Newfoundlands, will love to romp around in cold weather.
NOTE: Make sure to pay attention to your dog’s needs in winter weather. Ice melt is very dangerous to dogs’ paws. If you can get your dog to wear boots or shoes, that’s best. But if not, that paw paste is a good second choice. Either way, make sure to wipe your dog’s paws with a towel or doggie wipe when he comes inside to avoid ingesting any ice melt accidentally.
3. Doggie playdate
Another great way to engage your dog in the winter is with a playdate with one of your pup’s friends. You can meet at a dog park or even in your backyard. If you meet at an off-leash park, let the dogs romp in the snow. (Again, just make sure there’s no snowmelt around for them to ingest.) A doggie playdate is a great winter dog activity for any age dog. After all, who doesn’t like catching up with their friends? It’s a great exercise for your dog and will engage his/her mind. It’s perfect!
4. Scent game
This is a fun one that any dog will love. You can don’t even have to go outside in the cold. Yet your dog will be totally engaged. There are several ways you can set up a scent game for your dog. Each is easy and your dog of any age will love it.
This is the overly simplified method of a scent game I used for Henry.
- Make sure you have some very smelly treats on hand.
- Hide them in boxes or some other containers. I used plastic eggs.
- Place them in different locations, such as behind a couch or wherever (when your dog isn’t looking)
- Then let your dog enter the room and let him/her begin sniffing.
- Of course, make sure you reward your dog when he/she finds the hidden treasures.
5. Dog walker
Holy doggie is it cold outside! Yet, your dog needs exercise, and you have to clean your house and get through 50 other must-do things. One great option is to call a dog walker. If you have one already, you may be able to fit within the dog walker’s schedule easily enough. Then you can have room to breathe without worrying about taking care of your pup’s exercise needs for the day. It’s good to have a dog walker card in your back pocket, just in case.
6. Doggie daycare
This is always a fun day for Henry. I equate this to taking a kid to Disneyland. It’s amazing the number of activities a great doggie daycare will have for all aged and activity-level dogs. Even special needs dogs are included in great doggie daycare.
Moreover, with a day at doggie daycare, your pup is not only exercised, but also engaged and supervised. Henry always comes home thoroughly exhausted and completely happy. To top all that off, I can even log on and see him enjoying his day, when I’m having “Henry withdrawals”. It’s another win-win winter activity for dogs.
- 10 Benefits of Daycare for Dogs
- 17 Things to Look for in a Good Dog Walker
- Great Exercises With Dogs
- Cheap Long-Term Dog Boarding Solution
- Is There a Cheap Easy Way to Train Your Dog?
- 10 Ways To Bond With Your New Dog
Summary of turning a blah winter into a tail wagging one with 6 easy dog winter activities
Winter can be a difficult time to continue with the daily activities of exercising and stimulating your dog. But it doesn’t need to be so daunting. While you may change your daily routine, you can still easily provide fun exercise for your dog and keep his/her mind stimulated. Winter dog activities can include:
- Learning a new trick online
- Playing with your dog in the snow
- Letting your dog romp with a dog friend
- Setting up a scent game
- Calling a dog walker when you just can’t deal with the cold
- Taking your dog to play for a day at doggie daycare
Without a doubt, doggie daycare is probably Henry’s favorite dog winter activity. For him, it’s like going to grandma’s house and Santa is there waiting to see him. It’s simply the best place. I’m just glad he wants to come home.