Indoor Dog Fitness Ideas To Keep Your Dog Moving This Winter

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
Don’t let winter curb your dog’s exercise – we’ve got some indoor activities to get you moving

We all tend to hibernate in the winter months. With the Artic Vortex making the outdoors often unbearable, it’s pretty easy to turn to couch potato mode and put exercising on the back burning… you know, until the weather warms up. I admit that I am one of those people. Oscar and I are pretty comfortable cuddling together under the blankets for warmth, listening to the wind howl outside. But I’ve noticed that we’ve added a little junk to both of our trunks. So we’ve got to find ways to get moving without getting frostbite.

After much consideration and a bit of research, I’ve found a few ways that we can get off our butts without freezing them off. Here are a few we’re going to implement into our routine… and you can too!

The Stair Master: I’m not talking about the expensive piece of gym equipment. I’ve got two flights of stairs that Oscar and I can use to burn off energy and tone our tushes. It’s not a race, so we won’t be running up or down – I don’t want to trip over the little guy. And this is great for people who live in condos or apartment buildings. Common stairwells are your personal gym that allows access to dogs (without all the muscle bound guys). Start slow and don’t try to conquer all the flights at once. Monitor your heart rate and your dog’s panting to determine the right pace for both of you. And bring a bottle of water, just in case you or your dog needs a hydration break.

Play time: This has to be the best form of exercise ever. The options are endless: hide and seek, fetch, tag, monkey in the middle, or a tug of war. Whatever game gets you moving for an extended period of time is considered exercise. And you don’t even have to leave the house to get your sweat on. Book a session in the morning and in the evening after dinner. A rousing play date should have you both tuckered out.

Dance party! Turn up the tunes and rock out with your pooch. As soon as you start moving, jumping up and down, and waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care, your dog is going to get excited. He’ll jump up, run around and bounce along with you. Don’t stay in one spot – move around the room and encourage your dog to follow you. If you want to dance with your pooch, You can take your dog’s two front paws gently and have him stand on two legs. Don’t push it if he doesn’t want to or feels uncomfortable. Start with holding his paws for 30 seconds and lengthen the time gradually.

Tread time: Do you have a treadmill that’s being used to hang or dry clothes? It’s time to turn in on and get moving. Training a dog to walk on a treadmill may take some time, but using treat rewards offers a great incentive to walk. Some dogs catch on right away while others are a bit hesitant to hop on this moving sidewalk. Again, you should start him off slowly, gradually increasing time or speed, and you should never leave your dog unattended on a treadmill.

What do you do in the winter to make sure your dog stays in shape? Please share your ideas and suggestions in the comment section below.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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