Rain Hail or Shine – Tips on how to exercise your dog under every weather condition
I am not sure if it’s just me, but this winter seems to be colder and gloomier than ever before. The grey days are met with grey moods and sometimes, all we want to do is lounge about indoors.
For our dogs, they feel the cold too, but they also pick up on our dreary moods and that can affect how they feel physically and emotionally. If it is raining, we may still keep active, by going to the gym, or going to work. Even with the lockdown, we still utilise our brains when working from home and are able to feel a sense of purpose in our daily lives. But if dogs don’t have purpose, then they generally become more bored, anxious, frustrated and, destructive.
So, how do you give your dog the exercise they need, without getting caught in a wintry storm?
- Ideally, if you can get outdoors, the fresh air does wonders for us all. Quicker out door stints and more often, can help burn off some much needed mental and physical energy
- Increase the amount of thinking your dog does each day. Dogs need more than physical exercise, and empowering your dog to use their mental energy is very valuable
- Mental exercise includes activities such as basic training. Use high value treats and teach your dog a trick. That might be basic activities such as shaking hands, or more complicated tricks. The idea here is to have lots of fun, bond with your dog and get them mentally active. These tasks should only go for a few minutes at a time and as often as you can.
- Hide your dog’s daily intake of food. This can be simply by scattering it in another room, putting it in a treat dispenser or training your dog to sit and stay whilst you hide bits and pieces of it around the house. Rather than your dog getting one free meal from their bowl, they get to use their instincts to find it, which can take several minutes… even an hour or two!
- Play fetch. Simply chasing the ball down the hallway can be a fun 5-minute game to play with your dog.
- Create an indoor obstacle course. This is a fun and inexpensive exercise routine that both of you can play. Broom sticks suspended over shoe boxes can make great jumps, but you can get as creative as you like. The enthusiasm from you is part of the joy your dog will experience from this activity
- Involve your dog in your exercise routine as much as you can. Whether that’s pilates, sits ups or just some stretches, there’s no reason why your dog can’t be involved occasionally for a bit of fun.
Just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean your dog’s needs should be deprioritised. If we just think a little outside the square and have some fun with our dogs, it can be incredibly rewarding for our mental and physical wellbeing too. Enjoy!
– Laura V