Keeping active with your dog in winter!

This special post is by Kate the Kelpie, courtesy of her Mum, Jen.

Hi, Kate the Kelpie here! Jen my outdoor adventure Mum usually gets to talk to you, but this is a topic close to my heart (it’s up there with chicken drumsticks and peanut butter) so for this week, Mum is relegated to the sidelines while I get to give you the low down on why you should keep active with your pets through winter.

Even though the temperature outside is cooling (it’s freezing down here in Victoria) the best part of the day is my daily run! I look forward to it all day from the moment Mum and Dad leave to go to work, to the moment I hear their cars in the drive. Mum knows how much I look forward to my daily adventures, because I like to do my happy dance and bugle when I see her getting into our walking gear. This is me bugling below, don’t I sound awesome!

 

I love to go on walks in winter time, not just because of the ample amounts of mud I get to play in. Winter to us means less people about, so we get entire footpaths to ourselves, and lots more room to play with other dogs. As long as I rug up accordingly (my Mum has a spiffy jacket for me if it looks like rain) and keep warm then we can go for just as long adventures as we would in summer.

These are some of my favourite activities to do in winter:

Walks, Runs and Bike Rides

Just because it’s cold out, it doesn’t mean we skip our daily run. Mum likes to mix it up for me so I don’t get bored with the same thing every day. We do on leash walking, off leash romps at the beach and fast paced bike rides through the wetlands near us to change up the location and type of activity so my (highly intelligent) kelpie mind is kept interested.

As long as Mum rugs up accordingly and I am properly dressed for each outing, we can go for ages! It is the highlight of my day, every day, so no matter the weather Mum always tries to make the effort to take me out as she knows how important it is to me to see more than the house and backyard every day.

Kate the Kelpie doing winter exercise

Snow hikes

Are you an adventurous dog like me? Well then I reckon you should give snow hiking a go! There are so many things we can do at the snow together, activities like hiking, cross-country skiing – even camping if you are up for brisk night time toilet breaks! Snow trips are so much fun, but to have a fun trip you have to be prepared. This means having warm enough and adequate gear for super cold temperatures, because being cold is no fun for any dog.

Before we go to the snow, part of Mum’s pre-snow-play routine for me is to check the hair between my toes is nice and short (because ice can ball up under my feet sticking to the hair making it painful to walk). I also have dog booties in which I can protect my feet and keep dry meaning more snow play time for me! Mum also spends time with me getting me fit enough to be able to run through the snow, because snow is very different to grass and mud and can tire me out a lot quicker with the extra effort to bound through it.

Now for the fun part! While we are actually at the snow, I love to run and bound through the snow drifts, but I am never allowed to go too far from Mum as she is always watching out for me and making sure I don’t get too cold from all the rolling around in the white stuff. She says she watches for signs of shivering, or me becoming really tired and lethargic, which could indicate I’m on the way to getting hypothermia. She also makes sure I avoid any rivers or ponds as this could have thin ice that could break under me. I hate warm baths so I’m quite happy to stick near Mum as I don’t think I’d enjoy an icy cold bath any more!

As long as we stay safe, dress accordingly and are prepared for extreme circumstances we can have super fun safe snow trips (and I think you should too).

Dogs in the snow

Indoor games

If it’s too cold outside – Mum plays some indoor games with me! Paws up if you get bored stuck inside. We dogs need fun and mental stimulation, so if the weather is too bad to go out, bring the fun inside!

Hide and seek

One of my favourite indoor games is hide and seek. I have to wait in one part of the house, and my Mum will run off and hide away somewhere. Only when I hear the words ‘Where am I?’ do I run and try and find her. It’s so much fun and we always have a game of chasey each time I catch her!

Mind toys

I love my Kong. I especially love it when it’s full of peanut butter and kibble! I can spend ages just sitting there trying to get all the yumminess out of it with my tongue. I also love my kibble dispensing toys in which I have to twist and play with them until somehow magically some treats fall out of it. I haven’t figured out where it comes from, but I know if I roll it around enough I will get the kibble eventually!

How do you keep active with your dog during the winter months? Let us know in the comments below!

Jennifer Phelan

Jennifer is a web-developer and blogger who is passionate about spending time in the outdoors with her kelpie Kate. Jennifer believes in encouraging people to lead an active and inclusive life with their dogs and hopes Dog Adventures inspires people to do so.

The aptly named Dog Adventures is all about encouraging people to adventure with their dogs and includes Australian dog friendly camp sites, hikes, stories and gear reviews.