Cold Weather and Exercise
I don’t know what the temperature is in “your neck of the woods”, but it’s downright frigid in my part of the world! As I write this it is 10° outside. I hope you are where it is warm, but most us in the U.S. and Canada are freezing! My step-son and step-daughter-in-law are in Australia right now, so if that is your part of the world, tell them hello and I’m happy for you all who are where it is now summer time! But, when it is winter where you live there are some great tips to exercise your dog in cold weather.
Chihuahuas Need Daily Exercise Too
It can be difficult to get enough exercise for ourselves as well as exercise your dog in cold weather. These are some suggestions that could help you both get some needed exercise. although Chihuahuas don’t need as much strenuous exercise as bigger dogs, make no mistake, they need daily, regular exercise and mental stimulation.
Exercise Tips For Cold Weather
1. Morning walk
No matter what the weather, your dog needs to get outside at some time during the day. Don’t make them stay indoors all day, every day. Chihuahuas get cold easily, so make when you exercise your dog in cold weather, be sure they have a sweater or a coat and don’t keep them out for long. If your dog will tolerate boots, then by all means, let him wear them if there is snow or ice on the ground. You can also try some Musher’s paw protection wax on their little paws.
When you go back inside, be sure to wipe their little paws clean. There could be ice or snow between their foot pads and there could also be ice melt substances on the ground that isn’t good for them (they lick their paws. You don’t want any of that in your house either.
2. How about a brisker walk?
Although Chis are tiny, they still love to run. So that they get some heart benefits when you exercise your dog in cold weather while on a walk, try interval training. Walk at your usual pace and then jog for a few seconds. Observe your dog and don’t overtax them. This, of course, is for younger dogs, it may be too strenuous for an older dog. Try walking or jogging sideways, or backward between walking at a normal pace.
3. Indoor “Pet-friendly” stores or indoor dog parks
There are more indoor dog parks and stores that allow pets popping up all the time. Check with your local doggie daycare facilities or training facilities to see if they may offer open or private play times. Try doing a google search for indoor dog parks or play facilities in your area, you may be surprised to find one near you.
Make it a special outing for you and your dog. Take your dog to the local pet store. Try picking up a new toy or some treats and do some training and some ‘discreet” play while you are there.
Do you have access to stairs, either indoors or out? Stairs are a wonderful opportunity for some great heart-pumping exercise. Put your dog on a leash, or if yours are like mine they will simply follow you with a little coaxing, and walk up and down the stairs. Try walking sideways and/or backing up and down (this is more for you than your dog).
Don’t want to go up and downstairs yourself? If you have another person with you, try one standing at the bottom and one standing at the top and take turns calling your dog up and down the stairs. Be sure to give them a treat every few trips up or down so he doesn’t get discouraged and lose interest.
5. Dog yoga or “doga”
Do you like to do yoga? Did you know that there are “doga” classes? A wonderful way that you and your dog can get some exercise and some wonderful bonding time together.
Nic and Pacho doing yoga-You won’t believe how “yoga talented” little Pancho is:
To Watch the whole series of Nic and Pancho doing yoga together (hint; # 3 has a funny ending!) CLICK HERE >>
To get started, check to see if there are “doga” classes offered in your city. Try your local humane society. They sometimes will team up with yoga instructors to offer “doga” classes.
Can’t find any “doga” classes near you? Contact your local yoga instructors and see if they would consider offering them. Try gathering up a few friends that would be interested in trying “doga” with their dogs. There are books and DVD’s available that provide material and instructions for the “doga” beginner.
Exercise Tips For Your Dog When The Weather is Cold
6. Interactive Toys
There is a wide variety of interactive dog toys. From the very familiar Kong to the most sophisticated technological toys. Some are good for mental stimulation (think Kong) and some for both exercise and mental stimulation at the same time.
Training is not a one-time thing. Training is something that should be continued throughout your dog’s life. Now, especially, is a good time to practice his basic training skills and learn some new ones. Stimulating their mind can wear them out more than you may think. To them, it’s like work, only FUN work. They love to please you and you can see the wheels turning in their little heads when they are trying to figure out what it is you want them to do when you are teaching them a new skill.
Granted this one may not be for everyone, but if you have room and the budget to include a doggie treadmill, there is no better way to help your dog get the exercise he needs when you don’t have the time or ability to exercise with them!
This is my favorite activity of all at the end of an exercise session. Next time you exercise your dog in cold weather, when you come back in the house, curl up on the couch in front of the fire (providing you have one), cuddle your Chi with a cup of hot chocolate in your hand, and maybe a good book on how to do “doga”! Embrace the warmth and comfort of having your dog by your side and count your blessings.