When the leaves start falling, the winds of winter are not far behind! For some people, the snow has already piled up in their yards .
Let's face it - most of us find it challenging to get our dogs outdoors during this time of year. It’s cold, windy, and wet - not exactly fun weather to play in while you’re out with your dog.
But, if you’re willing to embrace the cold just a bit, there are some fun sports that you and your dogs might enjoy together. You don’t need a Northern breed to run the forest!
Here is a look at our top 5 winter sports for dogs.
Skijoring comes from the Norwegian word, skikjøring, which literally means “ski driving”.
This Nordic sport combines the best of dog walking and cross-country skiing. Any sized dog can participate if you make sure you have the proper gear for them and pay close attention to their interest in being a part of the sport. Even some cats enjoy this activity!
It’s a fun way to get some excess energy out of your dog and help you go on the run of your life. What's better than skis, sleds and pets?
Europe has some of the most spectacular skiing in the world so it’s little surprise they developed a sport with their dog.
Canicross consists of being bungee-corded to your dog’s harness and running with him - basically cross-country running with your dog. This is a year round sport that can be enjoyed in any type of weather. Head on out and enjoy this fun sport!
If you love deep powder and tall mountains, snowshoeing with your dog may be perfect for you.
There area number of dog-friendly trails throughout the state and national parks, so check with your state ranger before taking your dog along.
The classic sport of dog sledding has been around for centuries, dating back to at least 2000 BC. It was first developed to help Eskimos, Inuits and other tribes transport their food from the field to the village.
The sport has now evolved into long races with teams of dogs.
But you don’t need a team of dogs to enjoy this sport. There are plenty of sleds designed for single dogs or smaller teams. It's great exercise in winter but does take a lot of training to do this sport safely.
Kicksledding is a fun Finnish sport that has grown in popularity around the world.
A kicksled (aka, “Spark”) is a small chair mounted on skis. It’s propelled by a “sparka” (scandanavian for “kick”) on the ground by foot.
This is a superb way to get some well-earned cardio while enjoying the great outdoors. Get the whole family involved! If you have small dogs, they may even enjoy being securely fastened onto the chair as you meander through the woods.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Before you head out to the forest for some fun, make sure you and your dog are healthy enough for these activities. Head in for an annual checkup to make sure your hearts and lungs (as well as your dogs) are functioning properly. These are intense sports no matter how great of shape you may be in.
Don’t let winter wear you down - embrace the bitter cold and keep yourself and your pets active. It’s a beautiful time of year and nothing will keep you warmer than the unconditional love of a dog!