When you talk to Canadians, no one is ever overly enthusiastic about winter. The snow and freezing temperatures can make winter in Canada unbearable at times. Even so, there are a fews ways for you and your dog to make the best of the cold months! Here are 10 outdoor and indoor activities to do with your dog during winter.
- Winter walk or dog park romp
Even in winter, dogs need to get out of the house and stretch their legs. Whether just for a few minutes or an hour, your dog will enjoy the fresh air! Going to the dog park will give them a chance to socialize with other dogs and burn some energy. Without a walk or any outside time, a house can start to feel like prison for a dog. Even just a walk around the block can be a short break in their otherwise monotonous day. If your dog is not very fond of the cold, try some boots and a little jacket!
A dog in snow shoes? Not quite! Snowshoes make it easier for the human hikers to keep up with their dogs in the snow. For those active hikers, snowshoes can make long hikes much easier in the snow and allows for access to more difficult terrain. Check out the list of the top places to snowshoe with your dog in each province, according to all trails.
- British Columbia: Garibaldi Lake Trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park
- Alberta: Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
- Saskatchewan: Echo Lake Trail in Echo Valley Provincial Park
- Manitoba: Top of the world in Whiteshell Provincial Park
- Ontario: Hilton Falls Trail in Hilton Falls Conservation Area
- Quebec: Wolf Trail 62 Loop in Parc de la Gatineau
- Nova Scotia: Pot Lake Loop in Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area
- New Brunswick: Dobson Trail in Riverview
- Prince Edward Island: Winter River Trail in Suffolk
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Baker’s Brook Fall Trail in Gros Mourne National Park
- Yukon: Fish Lake Loop in Whitehorse
- North West Territories: Frame Lake Trail in Yellowknife
- Nunavut: Auyuittuq National Park in Qikiqtaaluk
A fun activity to do with the whole family! Dogs love to chase a toboggan down the sled hill. This is very exciting and great cardio for them. Some dogs even like to ride in the sled with their owners.
This sport may not be that well known but it is seriously fun if you have a large dog that enjoys the snow. Like a cross between dog sledding and cross country skiing, this activity utilizes your dogs pulling power to guide you through snowy trails on a pair of skis. Originating as a mode of winter travel in Norway, it is now a competitive sport in many snowy countries.
- Search and rescue
Did you know that search and rescue can be utilized for more than just working dogs? The average hound can build the fundamental skills required for real search and rescue work. Start with whatever your dog is most motivated by, food or toys. Hide the treat/toy in the snow and let your dog use their nose to search for it. This is a great mental exercise for canines!
We understand that not all dogs love the snow and that sometimes it’s too cold to safely go outside. So we’ve also added a few indoor activities to our list that you can enjoy with your dog.
- Trick training
Fun fact: training expends almost as much energy for dogs as a walk! If you’re stuck indoors, teaching your dog some new tricks, using tasty treats or a fun toy, can be a great outlet for their energy. This gets the dogs thinking and also helps with bond building. Youtube has some great video tutorials on how to teach your dogs some new tricks!
- Indoor dog park
Some cities in Canada have indoor dog parks and are usually incorporated as part of a daycare or boarding centre. There is usually a small fee involved but it’s a small price to pay for your dog getting out of the house and socializing! Just do a quick google search to see if there are any in your area.
- Road trip to the pet store
This one is pretty self explanatory but a walk around the pet store is always fun! Maybe check out some booties and a new sweater for your pooch? Dogs can walk around and owners can support local businesses. It’s a win, win!
- Indoor dog sports
Many competitive dog sports can be enjoyed indoors. This is great for intelligent, energetic dogs. Below are a few great dog sports to check out:
- Protection sports
- Canine musical freestyle
- Dog racing
- Nosework/hunting trials
- Disk dog
- Indoor dog pools
If you have a water dog, check and see if there are any doggy swimming pools in your area. Especially loved by retrievers, portugese water dogs and newfoundlanders, indoor pools can make a water dog very happy during the winter months. Let us see that doggy paddle!