6 Easy Dog Winter Activities

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, today we’re having some fun looking at these winter activities for dogs.

*Update: December 3, 2023

a dog plays in the snow as an example of how to have fun with dog winter activities
disclaimer note
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.

a dog mom trains with her pup for one of her great dog winter activities

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.

In this article, I discuss other ways you can bond with your dog.

2. Doggie snow games

This is mostly for those who 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.

a cute pup plays in the backyard in the snow for one of the great dog winter activities

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, then paw paste is a good second choice. Either way, make sure to wipe your dog’s paws with a towel or wipes when he/she comes inside. I like these doggie wipes for Henry.

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. 

Henry loves sniffing games inside in the winter.
Henry plays a sniffing game with plastic Easter eggs.

This is the overly simplified method of a scent game I used for Henry.

  1.  Make sure you have some very smelly treats on hand.
  2. Hide them in boxes or some other containers. I used plastic eggs.
  3.  Place them in different locations, such as behind a couch or wherever (when your dog isn’t looking)
  4. Then let your dog enter the room and let him/her begin sniffing.
  5. 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. 

Worried about your dog’s immunity? In this article, I share how to increase your dog’s immune system naturally and cost-effectively.

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. 

Related articles:

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:

  1. Learning a new trick online
  2. Playing with your dog in the snow
  3. Letting your dog romp with a dog friend
  4. Setting up a scent game
  5. Calling a dog walker when you just can’t deal with the cold
  6. 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. 

a german shepherd mix plays in the snow as an example of one of six great dog winter activities

What winter dog activities do you like to engage with your dog? Or what will you do to keep your dog exercised and stimulated this winter?  


4 thoughts on “6 Easy Dog Winter Activities”

  1. All my dogs always loved the snow. There is no chance of boredom unless the conditions turn crazy, such as with freezing rain. Unfortunately, we’ve been regularly getting that kind of mess regularly the last few years.

    • Oh no! Freezing rain is never fun. I’ve been through a few of those ice storms. They’re awful. I’m glad your pups love playing in the snow and winter dog activities. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Stay warm this winter!

  2. I don’t have a dog however I love that you have a variety of ideas for winter activities for dogs. The past year or so has many of us bored and anxious. Thanks for sharing these clever ideas to keep pups active and engaged.


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