Winter’s not for hibernating—stay active with your dog and try one of these cool canine activities.
It’s hard to get motivated to be more active in the winter. It’s cold out there! You just want to snuggle on the couch with your pooch until the snow melts. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that… but you can’t spend the whole season nesting. Get outside and bring your dog along for a fun, winter workout you can do together. It’s a wonderful way to bond and move your butt.
We’ve picked a few that are great for cold-weather climates. Some of these winter dog sports need snow, but we made sure to include a few that don’t require the fluffy white stuff (just a lower temperature).
Is your goal to achieve rock-hard abs, thighs and a butt? Strap on some snowshoes, leash up your dog, and trek across the snowy tundra. You’ll work up a sweat and move muscles you didn’t even know were there. If your dog is trained on a hands-free leash (the kind you wear around your waist), add a couple of pole for a full body workout. After an hour or two of snowshoeing with your dog, you’ve both deserve a night on the couch!
Here is a list of basics you’ll need: a dog over 30 pounds, a pair of skis, a harness, a gang line and a hip belt. Think of Skijoring as cross country skiing with your dog. Best done on the conservation trails, your dog gives you some pull while setting the pace. But you’ve got to ski with him to keep up—this sport is not for the whiney!
The snow offers a new level of hiking. Both you and your dog need to work a little harder to get through the snow. Always know which route you’ll be taking and let someone know, and don’t head out until you check your local weather reports. You’ll need to bring supplies with you and your dog, like food, water, and extra clothing.
Think of this winter sport as dog sledding lite! An excellent calorie burning workout, you’ll work a variety of muscles. You work with your dog to traverse the snowy trails. For kick sledding, your pooch will need a proper harness that fits comfortably and that’s made specifically for the sport. As well, you’ll need to train your dog to respond to kick sledding commands in order to practice the sport safely.
If you’re not expecting any snow this winter, canicross is the sport for you. Size isn’t an issue here—as long as he likes to run, he’ll like canicross. A hands leach free activity, your dog is attached to your waist with a canicross belt. Your dog runs ahead of you, on a 6 to 8 foot bungee leash, while wearing a fitted padded harness to keep him comfortable. Because the temperatures are cooler, there’s less of a chance of overheating.
Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.