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I used to be one of those people that would hibernate for the winter.  I’m not a fan of the cold so it was indoor activities for me and my dog.  I have since discovered some awesome winter sports, which have brought me out of hibernation.  My dog is very happy about that.  I may not be a fan of winter but he loves the snow!  There’s something about snow that brings out the puppy in even the oldest dogs.  They love to run and play and roll around in the freshly fallen snow.  So now, instead of hiding inside during the winter, we get out and enjoy the snow together.

Here is a list of our top 5 favorite winter sports to get you outside to enjoy what winter has to offer.  And yes, besides the cold temperatures, I now enjoy the winter!  For anyone who wants to track their dog’s activity, we recommend reading our article, 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Needs A Fitbark.

FitBark Dog Activity Monitor

1. Snowshoeing

This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors on those days when there is lots of snow on the ground.  Be sure to wear proper gear.  Pick your snowshoes based on the terrain that you will be encountering.  If you use a public snowshoeing trail, follow the rules and stay on the trails.  If you are heading out into the wilderness, always be cautious and stay safe.  Your dog will love running through the snow.  It’s a great way to tire him out.

Dog Planner Management Binder

2. Hiking

Hiking is one of our favorites all year round.  My dog and I love exploring new trails and just getting out in nature.  The only equipment you really need is a pair of hiking boots for the winter and you are all set to go.  Challenge yourself and your dog with new trails whenever you can.  Keep in mind that if the snow is really deep that it will increase the difficulty of the hike for both you and your dog.  Adjust the length of your hike accordingly so that you or your dog don’t overdo it.

3. Cross Country Skiing

Cross country skiing is a popular winter sport.  It’s a great aerobic workout and a perfect way to enjoy a nice winter day.  If you live in a climate that has snow, chances are there are some cross country skiing trails in your area.   This is will be an awesome workout for you and your dog.

Depending on your location, you may be able to rent cross country skiing equipment.  If not, you will need skis with bindings, boots and poles.

4. Skijoring

Skijoring is a sport that is not as well known as other winter sports even though it’s been around for quite a long time.  In case you are wondering what exactly it is, skijoring (or ski joëring) is skiing while being pulled by either a horse or in this case, a dog.  When using a dog for skijoring, you are responsible for pushing yourself forward…with a bit of help from your dog.

You should already know how to ski before trying this sport.  Your dog should be at least 35 pounds and be in good physical shape.  Besides your cross country gear, you will also need a harness for your dog and a towline.  Dog friendly trails and parks are great places for skijoring with your dog.

Free Dog Training Workshop

5. Kick Sledding

Kick sleds are lightweight sleds that were originally developed for humans to use.  Since then, they have been adapted so that people could enjoy the kick sleds with their dogs.  The kick sled works by harnessing your dogs and attaching them to the sled with a kick sled line that is built to absorb the shock as the sled is pulled.  The main power of the sled comes from you “kicking” and pushing the sled, the dog helps by pulling.  Attaching one or two dogs to the kick sled works the best.

With any winter sport, always remember to dress appropriately.  Always dress in layers.  Wool or synthetic materials similar to wool keep the heat in the best.  Keep an eye on your dog’s paws.  If the snow is wet the snow may pack in between his toes and become uncomfortable quickly.  Investing in a pair of quality dog boots would be ideal.

Most importantly, get out there and have fun with your dog!  If you have a favorite winter sport that you enjoy with your dog, we’d love to hear about it, comment below.

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