Three Ways to Have Outdoor Winter Fun with Your Dog

Three Ways to Have Outdoor Winter Fun with Your Dog


Winter offers almost as many opportunities for outdoor fun with our dogs as summer. In fact, depending on their breed or mix of breeds, some dogs prefer a brisk winter day to humid, hot, summer weather. For many large working breeds, sporting breeds, and other big floofy dogs like our Dover, winter means fun and frolicking in the snow. In this blog post we will feature three ways to have outdoor winter fun with your dog. 

Of course, before starting any winter activity with your dog, make sure your dog is fit enough for the activity. You can have your vet do an examination before starting a new sport or becoming more active than normal in the same way that you might check with your own doctor to make sure you are fit enough to do the activity. And of course, continually pay attention to your dog to make sure that he or she is having fun, is a willing participant, and is handling the cold and any sort of precipitation on the ground. 


Winter Hikes/Walks with Your Dog 

For winter loving dogs, snow just makes everything more fun. The world looks different, it feels different on their paws and their bodies. Smells are different because snow and cold weather hinder a dog’s ability to smell scents. Because of these changes to their world, winter hikes and walks are a great physical and mental workout for dogs and their humans. 

It is important to plan ahead when taking your dog on a winter hike to avoid dangerous situations. Depending on the terrain and the crunchiness of the snow, dog boots can protect your dog’s paws from sharp pieces of ice. If you are walking in a suburban or urban area instead of hiking through the countryside, boots can protect from chemical ice melting products and toxic sludge left by cars. 

Watch for icy spots to avoid slipping and falling. Also keep an eye out for the terrain that you are walking on, so that you do not accidently wander onto a frozen stream or pond. We found some great tips for getting started with winter hikes with your dog at Adirondack.net

Backyard Snow Day with Your Dog

You know if your dog loves snow based on their reaction to a fresh accumulation of the white stuff. Many dogs get the “snow zoomies” and race around the yard in complete and utter joy. So, what better way to bond with your dog than a snowstorm to embrace your inner child and have some fun just playing in the snow with your dog. 

There are so many fun things to do just hanging out with your dog in your snow-covered yard. Snowball fetch is just like it sounds: playing fetch with your dog with snowballs. It is interesting to watch how some dogs can find the snowball that you threw from the scent that comes off your gloves or bare hands. You can gently toss snowballs to your dog if he/she loves to catch balls. Just never throw a firmly packed snowball directly at your dog. 

If your dog knows how to “find it” or is involved in nose work, consider a snowy scavenger hunt. If your dog participates in actual nose work, you can work with their official scents outside. Otherwise, if doing it just for fun, you can hide toys or treats, or even a Kong stuffed with something good like a little bit of peanut butter, and then hide it in your snowy yard. 

Whether you build a snowman or make a fort for both of you reminiscent of childhood, chances are, your dog will love whatever you are doing outside just because you are together. Later, you will love seeing your dog crashed out by your side, knowing that you spent the day doing silly, simple things together outside. 


Skijoring with Your Dog

If you have experience cross-country skiing, adding your dog to the sport can be a fun and rewarding next step. Skijoring is cross-country skiing with your dog attached to a lead that is attached to your waist. Although skijoring can potentially be a fast-paced sport, you can also go at your own speed if you and your dog want to take things slowly. Your dog can pull you, or you can ski behind him/her depending on how fast you and your dog want to go. 

Of course, minimally you will need cross-country skis, boots, and poles for yourself, and a sled-pulling harness, and lead for your dog. There is other gear available to make life more comfortable for your dog, or if you plan on skijoring with multiple dogs. You can find information about getting started skijoring through clubs like the Alaska Skijoring and Pulk Association or the Pacific Sled Dog and Skijor Association.


Do you have a fun winter sport that you do with your dog? 

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