Dogs like to walk in the snow and run in the snow, dig, dive, and generally play in the snow for various reasons but mostly because it is fun! Snow arrives in different intensities and stays for different lengths of time but dogs, much like children, just enjoy the new experience and frivolity of snow. Snow brings a complete change of scenery. The air and the landscape changes with snow as well as the play opportunities. Some dog breeds are more efficient as snow mates as they have been bred to thrive in snowy conditions, but generally, most dogs enjoy a walk in the snow. It is worth being prepared to have fun with your dog in the snow if this is part of your seasonal experiences. Snoopy says: “Is your sleigh in good shape? Are the runners oiled? Then, Go Man Go!” That is probably just how a dog feels when the snow falls, let’s go man go!
The Root of the Behavior
Imagine how the sight of snow falling will stimulate the sensory aspects of every dog’s behavior patterns. He wakes up in the morning after a snowfall and the world outside has changed. It’s time for exploration mode to kick in and what could be better than a walk in the snow. A chance to see, touch and taste something different. Dogs will pick up on everyone’s excitement for snow and want to be part of the new games. Snow offers new digging experiences and a brand new social scene. However, not all dogs are naturally geared for the snow. The little Teacup Chihuahua and the skinny Greyhound or Whippet are not equipped for snow sports. Jackets and snow boots can help these breeds to fare better in the snow. Snow boots or paw-wax are a good idea for protection against the salt used in cities to clear the snow, but out in your backyard or in the park, snow boots may not be something your dog will enjoy. Dogs have venous anatomy in their paws. It creates a good supply of blood to their paws so they cope better in the snow than we might think.
However, be cautious of too much time in the frozen outdoors. Dogs with extra warm coats are naturally provided with an undercoat that is softer and warmer than their coarse outer coat. The outer coat helps keep the dampness out while the warm furry undercoat keeps the warmth in. Dogs can turn up their metabolism and so when they get into the snow they feel energized and ready to embrace the fresh cool outdoors and just have fun. There are breeds of dogs that have been raised in the snow and are genetically prepared for snow and colder conditions. The names of these dogs also indicate their association with the colder regions of this world. The Siberian Husky with its thick coat and close relations to wolves pulls sleighs and has no fear of a walk in the snow. A Tibetan Mastiff has a thick coat and is very at home walking snowy mountain slopes as well as the beloved Saint Bernard who helps rescue people from the snow. If you own one of these breeds of dogs, a walk in the snow will be as natural as a walk in the park but most dogs will enjoy a snowy outing with you.
Encouraging the Behavior
Enjoying a social walk in the snow with your dog can be invigorating and a lot of fun. Watch how everyone just goes a little bit crazy as they enjoy the snow. Dogs and children run through the snow with such enthusiasm. This behavior is called a frenetic random activity and is expressed in bouts of super excitement. Dogs have been called Zoomies by some animal behaviorists as they go wild in the snow and look like they have lost their minds. This could be an opportunity to say to yourself "if you can’t beat them join them." Get involved in the fun and playful behavior that is being offered. Watch your dog’s body language as he rushes around in the snow just enjoying something different. If your dog is the kind that is really geared for snow, then joining in some snow sports or putting a little sleigh on your dog could be a fun way to enjoy the snow too. Socializing with other dogs becomes easier because the snow transforms the playing field and inhibitions seem to get left behind. Its all about having fun with the rest of the Zoomies! It is important to take some precautions and watch out for hidden obstacles in the snow. Frozen dog poop is unpleasant when defrosted so be diligent about picking up the poop after your dog. Keep your dog well hydrated even in the snow because licking up snow is not the healthiest option. Be ready to go inside if you can see Fido is now freezing and shivering uncontrollably. The walk and playtime will need an organized end scenario as man and dog dry off and return to the safety of a warm fireside and comfortable home.
Other Solutions and Considerations
A walk in the snow can bring out the best winter behavior in your dog. If you know you live in a region guaranteed of snow, then this will have to be something to consider when you choose a dog for you and your family. It would be wise to look for the breeds that thrive in the snow if you know a good portion of your year is going to be a snowbound experience. Choose a dog that will naturally be able to survive the cold and the snow. A dog with the right coat and a mindset to enjoy romping or working in the snow is a wise choice. The Samoyed is bred to hunt, pull a sled, herd reindeer, and at the end of the day cuddle up with you for warmth. The ultimate snow dogs. Labrador Retrievers dive into icy water to retrieve fish or birds and have the added advantage of a water repellent coat. These dogs will always benefit from a walk in the snow and thrive in the cold outdoors. They will enjoy the snow whether they are working or just playing in it.
Play is a vital part of a dog’s life. Playing in snow has the added advantage of being the play experience that is not available all year round. When snow appears, it is novel and fun for all. A walk, a run, a romp in the snow Fido is not fussy and if you are there too then it is time for some crazy zoomie behavior – so run out and enjoy snow!