Top Ten Ways to Exercise with Your Dog in the Winter

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial on Jan. 18, 2012
Image: Nate A. / Shutterstock

Don't Let Cold Weather Freeze Up Your Exercise Routine

Winter time does not always provide weather that is favorable for exercising. Nevertheless, a little bit of daily exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle – for both your pet and you. Knock out both of your workouts by exercising together. Here are ten ways to stay in shape with your pooch this winter.

Image: Dariush M. / Shutterstock

#10 Morning Walk

Whether it is sunny, gray, wet, dry, cold, or hot, your pup is going to need to go outside at some point during the day. Instead of thinking of your dog’s daily outing as a chore, focus on all of the cardiovascular health benefits you’ll both get from a brisk daily walk.

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#9 Interval Walk

Why not turn a daily walk into a more intense exercise routine for you both? Interval training is touted for boosting metabolism, so instead of strolling around the block, use the following routine: one minute walk, 20 second jog, one minute walk, 20 second sideways shuffle, one minute walk, 20 seconds of running backwards – repeat five times and you’ve got an easy 20 minute workout done.

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#8 Dog Tag

An excellent way to get your hearts racing quickly, dog tag can be a fast way to burn some calories outside – or you can bring it inside. “Tag” your dog and allow him to start chasing you around – then switch it up and chase him.

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#7 Fetch Races

Yet another game that can be played outside or inside – space allowing. When you throw your pup’s favorite toy, don’t just watch him go to get it – race him to it.

Image: Piddleville / Flickr

#6 Dog Stairs

A simple way to exercise indoors is to utilize your stairway. Put your dog on a leash and walk up and down the stairs. Take two steps at a time, jog up and down, or walk up sideways to vary the routine.

Image: Arman Zhenikeyev / Shutterstock

#5 Fetch Tease

Incorporate a game of fetch into your abdominal workout. Start out doing sit-ups with your dog’s toy in your hands. When you sit-up, pretend to throw the toy so that your dog will chase after it. Every few sit-ups actually throw the toy and allow him to bring it back, you don’t want to tease him too terribly or he’ll lose interest in your game.

Image: Darko Zeljkovic / Shutterstock

#4 Squat Tease

Get into a squat position with your dog’s favorite toy in hand. As you squat down, tap your dog with the toy. Then, as you rise, bring the toy above your head so that he jumps for it.

Image: Stuart Isett / The New York Times

#3 Doga

Dog yoga, often called “doga,” is a wonderful way to stretch and relax – for both owner and dog. Practitioners of doga say it helps them to de-stress and feel connected to their pups.

Image: Bev Sykes / Flickr

#2 Canine Freestyle Dancing

Do you and your dog like to watch “Dancing with the Stars” together? Well get up off that couch and join in. Organizations like the World Canine Freestyle Organization and the Musical Dog Sport Association can help you find classes.

Image: glen gaffney / Shutterstock

#1 Skijor

Skijoring, a combination of cross-country skiing and mushing, may be the ultimate winter workout for dogs and their owners. The dog is harnessed to the owner, and as the dog pulls, the owner uses the skis and poles to keep the momentum going.