Does your dog hate winter walks?

Dogs need exercise whatever the weather, but not all dogs love going out in the snow. So how can you help them learn to enjoy their winter walks?

Prepare yourself

Wrap yourself up warm with layers and a good winter coat. Wear gloves with grip ( like horse riding gloves) so you can hold the leash, deliver treats and of course pick up the poop.

Keep them warm

Most dogs benefit from a jacket when it’s cold, especially puppies, elderly dogs, smaller breeds and hairless or shorter-haired dogs who may have a harder time staying warm. A coat built for the cold and for repelling moisture is best. Check before you go out that it is dry from the last walk as cold wet clothing will not be appreciated.

Protect their paws

Dog’s paws need protecting so at least use a good paw balm before you go out to keep the nasties on the ground out like de-icer, salt and ice melting chemicals which are toxic to dogs. ( see previous article for tips on paw care) You might also like to consider doggie booties. You’ll need to teach your dog to like their boots which can be done very successfully with clicker training:

Keep hold of the leash

Always use a solid leash and a front clip harness if your dog likes to pull. I always us a running leash that goes around your waist and has a slightly elastic leash that attaches to the dog’s collar . In the event that you trip and fall, this type of leash leaves your hands free and your dog stays attached, regardless of whether you kept a grip on the leash or not.

Keep the walk short

Once you’re both ready to go keep the walk short. If they just want to sniff round the block for 5 minutes, then let them. Gradually extend the walks by 5 mins at a time and let your dog tell you when they’ve had enough for today. Always set them up for success and make it a positive experience.