On Good Behavior LLC

Winter Activities: Ways to Exercise Your Dog When It’s Cold Outside

The Boxing Day snowstorm got me thinking about exercising the dogs without stepping out into the windy cold. My favorite winter weather activity is  hide and seek  link to article. Today, I have a list of ideas to keep you and your favorite canine busy indoors:

Take a walk up (and down and up and down) the stairs. Flash and I do ten sets every other day and believe me, you’ll feel it!

Play Dawn Jecs Choose to Heel Game 
Have a handful of treats ready, show them to your dog, and start walking briskly. Any time he catches up with you, give him a treat and head off in another direction. Quickly tighten up your criteria and only reward if your dog is in proper heel position (collar in line with your left pant seem). 

Teach a new trick. Roll over is a good one for laughs. Sit up and beg is a great core strength exercise for dogs. Both can easily be taught with a food lure (preferably a soft one that can be nibbled at) and some patience.

Come and Go Recalls: Show your dog a treat and toss it underhanded so that it goes past his nose and lands a few feet away. Encourage him to “Go Get It!” As soon as he picks up the treat, call him to “Come!” and reward once he is sitting in front of you. Once your dog catches on, make the game more challenging—as soon as you throw the first treat, run the other direction, wait until he has eaten his treat, and then call the dog to you. 

Puppy Push-ups: Sit, Down, Sit, Down etc. If you have a child or spouse at home, see who can get the dog to do ten push-ups fastest. If working on your own, mix up how frequently you treat and only treat the fastest responses. Once your dog is doing well, save the treats and use them as a jackpot at the end.

Kibble toss: Don’t waste your dogs dry food (kibble) by putting it in a bowl and letting him wolf it down in 30 seconds. Make him work for it! Toss a cup of kibble all over your (clean) kitchen floor for him to find or better yet scatter kibble the length of a flight of stairs. Soak kibble in water, stuff into a Kong toy, and freeze for a long leisurely meal.

For agility addicts, here’s a short list of indoor activities. Just remember to go slow! Only work on things three days per week and build reps gradually. It’s easy to get carried away having fun with this when you are not the one doing push-ups!

Strength training: walking stairs, sit up and beg, stand on three legs (hold one up for ten seconds), walking on hind legs, walking on front legs, balance with front or rear legs on an exercise ball. Here’s a video of Flash working on his exercise ball: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SDDFpBvErc 

Body awareness: Walking backward, walking backward up stairs, trot through a ladder placed on the ground, place front feet on a perch and pivot in a circle, put four feet in a box or on a small platform.

Skills: Hand targeting, nose targeting, weave entries with 2 X 2s, focus forward, two on two off contact training on stairs or on an angled plank, start line stays, table practice using a piece of plywood on the floor or an ottoman.

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