Activities For Dogs In Colorado On Cold Days

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Introduction

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Trust us when we say that during the winter months, Colorado does just that, and lets the weather snow for just as long as it likes (sometimes meaning late into spring). When it comes to dealing with cold weather, it's great to have an arsenal of ideas to tap into as your pet isn't going to just lose all desire to play simply because it's cold outside; in fact, depending on what type of dog you have, they may get an even stronger desire (we're talking about Siberian Husky owners here)! So, if winter has set in and you are looking for some amazing cold-friendly activities to do in Colorado, you have come to the right place.

Sledding

Popular
0 Votes
Cold Day
Expensive
Normal
2 - 3 hrs
Items needed
Sled
Warm Clothing
Dog booties (Optional)
X-Back Harness
Lead Line
Activity description
Everybody love sledding, and the same goes for dogs. Whether they ride on a regular sled with you down a hill or actually pull one, there is no doubt that they will get a thrill out of being outside in the snow. Sledding is a great activity for those dogs with a lot of energy to burn and when we think of the classic sled dog, Siberian Huskies most likely come to mind. But you may be surprised to know that any kind of larger dog is capable of pulling a sled with a bit of training and conditioning (utilizing two or more dogs is best if you have them). Even dogs that have shorter fur will have a blast being able to act as a sled dog, however they may need some additional warmth such as a doggy jacket and some booties. For those dogs with long and thick fur, the cold shouldn't bother them anyways (Frozen reference anyone?), so you can just get out there and have some fun!
Step
1
Practice and research
Sledding isn't an activity that you can necessarily jump into right away. First of all, it can be expensive and secondly, your dog is going to need practice in order to get used to sledding. It is best to start off slow, by having your dog wear the x-back harness with just the lead being pulled behind them. Then, you can move up to having the dog pull something like a log or a tire behind them as they walk. At this time, it is a good idea to start teaching your dog commands that may be useful on the trails, such as 'start', 'stop', 'left', and 'right'. You can learn a lot more about this by visiting sites on Google (such as here on the Wag! site) or watching YouTube videos. However if you want even more official training, you can join boot camps like the one in Alaska known as Blue Kennels. This option may be great for those who seriously want to pursue this sport each winter!
Step
2
Gather your gear
Once you and your dog feel comfortable with pulling a sled, it's time to start preparing. The general idea is to grab everything you need before even heading out into the winter wonderland so that both you and your dog are prepared for any instance that may occur. This will include snow gear for you and your dog, extra clothes or a blanket, a towel for drying off wet paws, an X-back harness, leads, and of course, a sled. Once you have everything you need to enjoy an awesome sledding activity, you can pack up the car and head on to step two.
Step
3
Find the perfect area
Initially, it may be best to find an area (or even event) where beginner dog sled teams go to practice. This will ensure that you have others around to help if anything goes wrong and you may even be able to make some new friends in the process! Break your dog (or dogs) in slowly and allow them to get used to doing the activity for real. Once everyone involved is comfortable you can move on to more challenging locations. Something that sledders tend to shoot for is the Iditarod, which is an annual long distance sled dog race that takes place in Alaska. It is an amazing event and people from all over the world come to participate. So who knows, perhaps with enough practice, you and your dogs can take part in a little slice of history!
Step
4
Be attentive
No matter where you go on your sledding adventures, it is important to be attentive of your dog's behavior and the surroundings around you. Always be sure to have a buddy with you or alert someone to your location before heading out. This will ensure that if anything were to happen, such as an avalanche or getting lost, someone will know to look for you and your team. As for being attentive of your dog's behavior, if they start to limp or get a bit slow, it may be time to head out of the cold and on to a warmer activity!
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Training

Popular
0 Votes
Cold Day
Free
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Treats
Props (bucket, stool, toys)
Activity description
Regardless of whether you decide to train your dog in your own home, or in an actual dog class, working your pet's mind in new ways is a great activity to partake in during a cold day. Some say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but we think that no matter how old a dog may be, they can always learn something new. So take advantage of the cold weather and use it to teach your dog how to give a high-five, play dead, or maybe even dance! The possibilities are endless if you just have enough patience and determination; oh, and enough treats, of course.
Step
1
Stock up on treats
Depending on whether your dog is one that is motivated by food or not will determine how many treats you will need for training. Some dogs are simply encouraged by their owner's words and affection, while other dogs are a completely different story and won't do anything without a yummy incentive. If that is your dog, be sure to have a lot of goodies on hand so that you can teach the trick in no time. You can use healthier alternatives such as vegetables and some fruits (in moderation) if you don't want to feed your pet a lot of fatty training treats.
Step
2
Choose the trick
Dogs are incredibly bright and once they figure out what you are asking for, they tend to catch on without a problem. So, the best thing to do when training is to pick a trick and stick with it until the trick has been mastered. This will simply help your dog to catch on faster without being confused by another trick that you may want them to learn at the same time. Once they have tricks mastered, it will be no problem at all to switch things up and keep your dog on their toes!
Step
3
Repetition is key
While it may get redundant, repeating a trick is the best way for your dog to concrete it in their head. Once your dog captures the motion that you are looking for, reward and immediately do it again. This way, the dog will be able to slowly recognize that when they perform that specific movement, they will get a reward. Since it's cold out, training is a great way to kill time and get your dog both the mental and physical exercise that they need.
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Treadmill Exercise

Popular
0 Votes
Cold Day
Free
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Treadmill
Front harness
Bunjee leash (Optional)
Activity description
If you have a treadmill in your home, don't worry if you haven't used it in a while because it can be perfect for your dog! For those dogs who need a daily walk, cold weather can be a real complication; especially if that air drops below freezing at any point. So to solve this issue, you can simply break out the old treadmill from the basement and let your dog walk himself. While this may seem complicated (and it might take a bit of practice) using this awesome workout tool is a great way to get your dog moving in a safe, warm environment.
Step
1
Set up the treadmill
First things first, you'll want to make sure that the treadmill is in good working order and in a location that will be easy to locate if your dog needs any assistance. The machine won't be moving very fast at any point in time, but it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the well-being of your furry friend. To get the treadmill activity all set up, have your treats nearby and the safety stop chord within your reach.
Step
2
It's doggy time
Once the treadmill is ready to go, have your dog step up on the belt and move to the front of the machine. You can either attach the bungee leash (if you have one) to something stationary in front of the treadmill, or you can hold onto it yourself if your dog is just starting out. From there, start the treadmill at the lowest speed and slowly work up until your dog is walking at a comfortable pace.
Step
3
Watch and reward
Your pup may be a bit confused if this is their first time performing this exercise and will most likely try to hop off the treadmill entirely. If that is the case, it's okay! This is where the treats come in handy. You can train your dog to be comfortable on the treadmill by 1) working slowly towards getting your dog comfortable with just standing on the belt by rewarding with treats, 2) turn up the speed one notch and reward as your dog beings to walk, 3) keep progressing until your dog is completely comfortable using the treadmill. Stand beside your dog at the beginning and hold the leash just like you were going on a real walk. This will help to make the transition from a normal walk to walking on the treadmill a bit more natural. Although this may take a bit of time at first (and some dogs may catch on faster than others), the good news is that winter is long so you have plenty of time to practice!
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More Fun Ideas...

Cuddle

Sometimes, when the weather is cold, all we want to do is a whole lot of nothing. And that's definitely okay! Snuggle up by the fire with a good TV show and have your pup come close to warm your toes or your side. This is a great bonding activity as you both can just enjoy each other's company. So let the snow come down and snooze the day away; it's good for the soul.

Bundle Up

If you want to take your pup for a quick walk, all you really need to do is just bundle up. For dogs that have thick and warm fur, there's really no need to worry about them (besides their paws perhaps). In that case you can get some dog booties from stores like REI. Dogs with short fur will need some kind of doggy jacket, booties, and just a quick walk around outside before being taken back inside. This will ensure that everyone gets what they need without any complications!

Puppy Play Date

Who doesn't love when friends visit? We know that we sure do! So if the weather is dreary outside, perhaps invite a friend and their dog over to play. You may not be able to get outside and do something, but your dogs can enjoy some quality time with each other while you and your friend catch up.

Conclusion

Now that you have this list of activities to do, even if it is extremely cold outside, you can still have a great time! Just remember that when doing outdoor activities such as the sledding or going for a walk that it is best to pay attention to your dog. If they start whimpering, limping, or simply refuse to go any farther that is a good sign that it's time to head back indoors and get warmed up. Maybe even break out that cuddle session. Winter is a beautiful time of the year and it is so wonderful that dogs are resilient and full of life, so that even when the rest of the earth is sleeping, they are ready to go and explore. This is truly a wonderful reminder of how fantastic dogs are as they push us to get off the couch and out into the world, no matter how much we may not want to!