Great Alternatives To Long Walks In Freezing Cold Weather

  • 11/12/2017
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pexels-photo-406014.jpegThere's nothing that dogs love more than going on a great, long walk. Getting to really stretch their legs, explore lots of places, and mark their territory as much as possible. Of course, now that we're fully into the winter months, doing that can be kind of difficult for many dogs. After all, would you want to get out into the snow barefoot? This is especially true for older dogs or dogs who might be suffering from arthritis since the cold weather can stiffen up their joints and make them incredibly sore a lot of the time. Of course, that doesn't mean that your dog is going to have to spend all winter sitting at home feeling bored. Here are just a few ideas that you can use as alternatives to taking your dog on long walks in freezing cold weather.

Teaching them tricks

A lot of people assume that dogs need to run for miles upon miles upon miles in order to get the kind of exercise that they need, but that's not necessarily true. The reality is that different kinds of exercise end up having different effects depending on things like how intense they are and what kinds of muscles are being used. One of the best examples of this is the way that, if something that your dog is doing requires a great deal of focus and brain power, it's actually going to give them a pretty intense workout, even if they're not running around for hours at a time. Teaching them tricks and helping them to learn new things is one of the best examples of this since it means that they'll need to concentrate very hard on whatever they're learning. As long as you have some high-quality treats from somewhere like Betsy Farms on hand, then you'll be able to keep their attention for a long time. This means that they'll not only get a great workout, but they'll also be able to do some seriously impressive stunts before long.

Puzzles

Dogs are natural problem solvers, that's the way they've been bred for generations. Many breeds were practically designed to find hidden things or to follow complex instructions. That's why puzzles can be so useful for them. Things like little mazes or puzzle boxes that they have to move around to find treats can have the same kind of intensity as learning tricks. Having to push or pull levers and open flaps to get to the treats requires not only thinking and understanding but a lot of dexterity on their part as well. Sure, they might get bored if they can't figure it out quickly enough, but with plenty of encouragement and support from you, they're going to be able to work off a lot of their energy on some simple puzzles.

Obstacle courses

Of course, if you want the best possible combination of physical and mental exercise, an obstacle course may well be your very best option. Obstacles courses are amazing because they not only allow your dog to run around a lot, even within a small space like your back garden, but they have to think carefully about how to get around as well. And the very best thing is that it's so easy and cheap to put one together. Things like cardboard boxes, large tubes for concrete, and planks of wood can be used to create an incredibly effective obstacles course that will keep any dog entertained. You can make it less or more complex depending on your dog's abilities, and all you need to do is to lead them through it with a treat. After a while, you can use a trail of treats so that can get through it themselves. You might even get to the point where they can race through the whole thing with nothing but the promise of a treat at the end!

Shorter, more frequent walks

Then again, even if the weather is horrible, it's still nice to be able to get out and about now and then. Not only that but plenty of dogs really love to explore the snow and frost. The best way to let them explore without them getting too cold is to take them on shorter, but more frequent walks. This can sometimes be a little frustrating since you'll need to break up your day a little more, but it can be really useful. By taking shorter walks you can get home and warm up before your pup starts to feel too cold while still giving them the same amount of exercise as you would previously.

Wrapping up warm

Sometimes there's nothing for it but to brave the weather and head out with your faithful friend for a good long walk. Maybe they're bouncing off the walls; maybe you need to tire them out before you take a long trip in the car together. Whatever the reason, if you have to go for a long walk then the best thing to do is to wrap them up as warm as possible. A big thick coat can be incredibly helpful, even if your dog's own coat is plenty thick already. Not only that but plenty of dogs can be very sensitive to the cold in their feet. For those dogs, there are little dog boots that you can try. You can't guarantee that they'll actually want to wear them, but they can be incredibly helpful.

Not being able to take a big long walk like they're used to can be incredibly frustrating for dogs and it can lead them to act up a little bit. Remember to be patient with them and not to get too annoyed if that happens. Your dog isn't going to understand that you're trying to do what's best for it and is just going to wonder why they can't do their favourite thing anymore. And besides, even if they do get frustrated by it, it's only temporary. These alternatives are all great and work all year round, but it will only be a few months before you can both get back out into the world to explore again.

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