We’ve compiled a list of things to do with your dog in the winter. Find out more about snowshoeing, skijoring, kicksledding and tobogganing with your dog. And if it’s too cold to go outside, stay indoors and bake some all-natural treats for your dog to enjoy!
Snowshoeing is the perfect outdoor activity for you and your dog this winter. As long as you live in an area that gets alot of snow, and your dog can get around all right in the deep stuff, you’re set! If you don’t already have a set of snowshoes, you can get some for relatively cheap if you find them on sale. Check out some outdoor stores – like Sportchek or Atmosphere – outside of peak season to try and get a better deal.
Once you’ve got your gear, do some research online to find dog-friendly snowshoe trails in your area. The cold, snowy conditions can sometimes be hard on your dog’s paws. Pick up some Dr. Maggie Paw Protector for year-round protection.
Skijoring is like cross-country skiing, but better. Your dog is fitted with a harness which attaches to a belt that goes around your waist. Canadog has all the skijoring equipment you might need. Skijoring is suitable for dogs over 30 pounds, and is a perfect winter activity for you and your active pooch. Your dog runs out in front of you with a long line that connects the harness to your belt.
Skijoring may sound a little complicated, but it comes naturally to many dogs. Check out these tips from skijoring trainer Louisa Morrissey.
If you’ve got some hills in your area and some snow on the ground, why not go tobogganing with your dog? Let your dog roam free (and probably chase you down the hill) or put them on your lap and bring them along for the ride! You don’t need a fancy toboggan to get down the hill, there’s plenty of other sleds, snow tubes, crazy carpets, and more. When I was a kid, if we didn’t have a crazy carpet we would grab a big baking sheet to fly down the hill on! Just grease the bottom with pam and you’re laughing. If you’re not a tiny child then you can try a plastic laundry basket, giant garbage bag, or a piece of cardboard instead. Your dog is guaranteed to have a blast running up and down the hill with you!
Kicksledding is a good introduction to dog sledding (or mushing). It is suitable for dogs under 40 pounds, as you are not totally relying on the dog’s strength to pull the sled. A kicksled is designed to be propelled by human-kicking power, and can be pulled by one or two dogs.
Kicksleds look like a chair mounted on a pair of flexible runners which are about 6” long. The chair folds down for easy storage and convenient travel. A kicksled can also be used without a dog, so if you want to use it with your dog you need the right gear. You’ll need a bridle which allows the sled to safely follow the dog(s) around corners. Kicksleds work best on well groomed, packed down trails.
The first record of a kicksled was in a Swedish newspaper around 1870. From 1890 to 1910, kicksledding was a popular sport – especially in Sweden. Kicksled racing was a major event in the Nordic Games, which was the first international sporting event that focused primarily on winter sports. To this day the kicksled is commonly used in Norway, Sweden, and Finland where roads are not sanded or salted.
Akko Sports has some Kicksled Starter Kits to get you and your dog set up.
Okay, this article is supposed to be about things to do with your dog outside in the winter. But sometimes it’s just too dang cold! Some of our dogs can’t handle the frigid temperatures, so outside time has to be limited. Stay inside and bake some all-natural treats with your dog instead. Keep it fun and interactive. Incorporate some training in while letting your dog sample the ingredients.
Check out some natural treat recipes to bake with your dog.
Do you have some other good ideas on things to do with your dog in the winter? Let us know in the comments below.