When the days get shorter and most of the country goes off daylight savings time, exercising our dogs can get a little tricky. In fact, dogs and daylight savings time can present quite a challenge. By the time we’re home from work it’s already dark, and going for that evening jog with Fido doesn’t seem like such an attractive idea. But exercise is as important for our dogs as it is for us, so neglecting your routine during the winter months just isn’t an option. Here are some great ways to stay active with your dog during the short, dark days after daylight savings.
Let’s face it … sometimes the weather is so bad that we just can’t go outside to exercise. On those days we need to be creative about what we can do indoors that will satisfy our need for activity. I find that exercising in short, strong bursts is more practical than trying to assimilate a 30-minute walk all at one time. However, if you have a large dog and need to move furniture in order to play inside, single sessions might be more practical for you.
- Fetch, tug, and hide and seek are all games I play inside with my dogs that get them active and using different muscles. We have certain times each evening that we take a play break, usually for just ten minutes at a time. This helps ensure that dogs and daylight savings time is a non-issue.
- Teaching your dog new skills or practicing old ones is also a good way to get your dog moving. Skills like dancing on his hind legs and rolling over use different muscles than just walking, so it helps keep the body flexible and toned.
Many dog parks across the country are lighted. They make great places to take your dogs during the shorter days of winter. Letting your dog off-leash is also a good way to help him build up his cardiovascular strength, which, due to fewer opportunities, is more difficult during the darker, colder months.
Most public parks are well-lit and provide a nice place for walking your dog. Depending on the environment and weather, you may even be able to get in a good jog.
Exercise that requires your dog to jump increases the heart rate and helps strengthen muscles that may not be worked by walking. If you have room in your home or yard, set up one or two hurdles and teach your dog to jump over them. By jumping he will be getting a more condensed workout. Hurdles will also add variety to his workout routine.
Be a Weekend Warrior
Resist the urge to sleep in on weekends and use that extra hour to take your dog for a good walk or run. Chances are you will enjoy and benefit from the fresh air, exercise and sunshine just as much as your dog.