Activities For Large Dogs In Snow

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Introduction

When the temperature starts to drop and the snow starts to fall, it is a sign that, as the Game of Thrones saying goes, “winter is coming”. During this season, a lot of people just want to relax and enjoy their time indoors. While that sounds like a cozy idea, you should not forget about your big, furry friend. Your dog is in need of regular stimulation and exercise, regardless of the season. Therefore, you shouldn’t let the snow become a hindrance to your dog’s exercise and play time, especially for a large pooch who needs to workout a lot. Fortunately, there are lot of outdoor activities that you and your dog can enjoy even with all that snow.

Skijoring

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Cold Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Leash
Skijoring equipment
Activity description

Skijoring is a new and trendy snow activity for owners and dogs. Derived from the Norwegian word which means “ski driving”, this sport involves a person wearing skis being pulled by either a motor vehicle or an animal, such as dogs and horses. Dog owners who love the outdoors and winter season will surely enjoy this sport. Not only is it a good way to have your dog use up some energy, it is also a fun and exciting way to spend some time together. The price for this activity can range from moderate to expensive. Having a large dog when skijoring is an advantage as well, because your dog will have more strength to pull you. 

Step
1
Find a place for skijoring
To go skijoring, you first have a place to do the activity. A quick search on the internet will reveal lots of places across the country where you can go skijoring, such as ski resorts and ranches. Do your research on the several options and find one that meets all the elements that you are looking for.
Step
2
Research the activity
When you find the perfect place, contact them and find out what things you need to bring and other essential information and pay them a visit. Prices of skijoring lessons range from $50 to as much as $200, depending on certain factors. This fee usually includes all equipment needed as well.
Step
3
Practice and pulling
You will not be able to just harness up your dog and go; first you will have to get them used to being strapped up to the equipment. Give your dog a few practice sessions so that they are comfortable with the gear. Then, have them pull an empty sled, slowly at first. Add some weight, and once your dog is used to the idea you can add yourself to the sled!
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Scavenger hunt

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Cold Day
Free
Easy
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Toys
Treats
Activity description

Dogs have an impressive sense of smell and it is arguably the sense that they use most. They use it to sniff food, things, and even humans. Why not make good use of your dog’s nose and put it to the test with a winter scavenger hunt? Snow can be used as a great hiding place for different items and the presence of snow makes the game more challenging. The best part about this game is that you need not go far to play; all you have to do is go out of your house and use the outdoors as your very own playground. 

Step
1
Choose which items to hide
Pick out some items that you will want your dog to find and let your dog get a good whiff of these items. Some good options are tennis balls or other toys that your dog usually plays with. Then, leave your dog inside as you go out and hide the items under the snow.
Step
2
Start the search
When you’ve hidden all the items, let your dog out of the house to start the scavenger hunt. It will be hilarious and amusing to watch your dog run around while trying to find the hidden items. All the running around can be good exercise for your pooch. When your dog finds and retrieves the items, do not forget to give a reward such as treats or a positive gesture such as a pat or hug.
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Interval training

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Cold Day
Free
Normal
10 - 20 min
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

Who says you cannot burn some calories during the winter time? Getting a good workout may be challenging in the cold weather, but it is possible. One of the best ways to do it is through interval training. This type of training refers to short but intense periods of exercises, such as sprints. Interval training can be beneficial not only for you but for your large, active dog. What’s good about this exercise is it can be done in a short amount of time and can greatly improve your overall fitness and stamina. Your furry friend will also benefit from the exercise as it can improve your dog’s health.

Step
1
Locate an area for training
Running with a thick layer of snow on the ground will be difficult and even risky. For interval training, you need a clear path to run on to avoid any potential hazards for you and your pup. Areas such as parks or around the neighborhood can be a good place to start. Remember to wear necessary gear and to dress your dog up with winter gear as well.
Step
2
Run and train
Interval training involves short bursts of high intensity work followed by a low intensity period, which serves as your resting time. You may start by jogging at a leisurely pace before going on a full sprint for about one minute. Then, slow down to a jog or walk for 30 seconds before sprinting again. You can make the training more challenging by going up a flight of stairs, uphill paths or some obstacles during the high intensity period. Note that 15 to 20 minutes is more than enough time for interval training, since you wouldn’t want your dog to become overworked.
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More Fun Ideas...

Snowshoeing

Large dogs seem to have an affinity for snow. If you live in an area which experiences a lot of snow in the winter, you can let your dog have some fun through snowshoeing. A snowshoe is footwear used to walk over snow and lets the wearer “float” over the snow. By gearing yourself and your dog up with some snowshoes, you can go for walks or even a hike despite the mountains of snow. 

Snowball fetch

The winter is the only time to play snowball fetch, so take advantage of it. Basically, this is just like the classic game of fetch but instead of the usual toy or sticks, owners will throw snowballs. Simply make a snowball and throw it far away and watch your dog try to “fetch” the snowball. It will be entertaining to watch your dog try and retrieve the snowball for you. 

Conclusion

The winter season should not be an excuse to stay indoors and laze away in the couch. Use this time as an opportunity to bond with your dog while still remaining active. Dogs, just like children, are curious about the snow. Thus, by doing these given activities, you can let your dog enjoy the outdoors and the snow.