So I was just wondering what you offer your dogs for exercise/play during the winter. I live in central Canada so we have about 6 months of winter… meaning 6 months of snow on the ground all the time, no melting. Basil already refuses to go to the bathroom in the backyard or stay out there when it's raining, wet or cold. He has to be walked if he will relieve himself. I'm dreading winter as I'm not even sure he'll want to be walked outside! I wish we had a treadmill because I tried him on it at my friend's house and he loved it. I did hear of an indoor dog gym that is put on once a week... but I'm just wondering if any of you have come up with creative ways to exercise/play with your basenji's during the winter.
Well, the B500 is more frequent at my house in winter…..gotta use up that energy somehow! I play hide & seek with my guy inside. Outdoors you might want to invest in boots and a coat, so he doesn't suffer on walks, but if walking is the only available exercise then suit up and get on with it! I am lucky to have a barn and hay shed, which has made life far easier in winter, as my guy "goes" in the hay shed on miserable, cold days. It's out of the wind, and hay is easier on the paws than snow, although it isn't warm in the unheated shed.
Winter is also a great time to work on intellectual stimulation. Clicker train him to understand the names of lots of objects, and get him to retrieve them for you. And figure out a way to teach him anything else that comes to mind. Fun for both of you, and it will improve your relationship.
We have the long winters as well. The cold is what's so tough on these guys.
B500s, as mentioned, will help drain energy. I'm fortunate enough to live in a hi-rise, which gives me the added benefits of stairs. I will take him up 10 flights of stairs and back down. Usually once or twice. That's enough to make any human tired, it certainly helps wear out a Basenji (notice I said "helps", it won't make them sleepy). You just have to get creative.
Mental stimulation becomes much more utilized in my household when it comes to the cold months. Sometimes you just can't get them physically worn out, but additional mental exercise will suffice.
In addition to mental stimulation, I am going to be trying Kipawa on a treadmill. I'll test him out on my sister's treadmill, and if things look good, I'll consider buying a dog treadmill. I'll let you all know how it goes.
Anyone else here that uses a treadmill for their basenji?
Thanks for all your replies :) I put Basil on a human treadmill at my friend's house and I just had him on a leash and he got treats if he kept up a jog for a little bit. He loved it. I guess I'll have to invest in some warm winter clothes for myself. Basil has a few sweaters and winter booties. :) Should be a fun and interesting winter… :) I'll look into the clicker training and I'll ask the behaviorist about it. Thanks for your help!
I guess I must be lucky with Ella, my snow loving Basenji. I live in Colorado at over 8000 feet and we also have snow on the ground about 6 months a year. Obviously, there are some cold weather limitations on Basenjis. Deep snow can be a problem. She happily wears a coat during the winter but she still gets cold when the temperature gets much below 20 degrees, but as long as the sun is shining even that is OK. We have a lot of snow here, but bitterly cold days are pretty rare. So on the days when the temps are single digit or below zero, her walks are short. But on a typical winter days with packed snow on the ground everywhere and temps in the 20s or 30s, she is fine. She does better in those conditions than she does in extreme heat. She loves to play and run in the snow and we cross country ski together all the time (that took a little practice).
It so happens that I also love the winter and am happy to be outside on just about any winter day. Either I am really lucky with Ella, or your dog will pick up on your attitude to being outside. If you want to be outside, I think most dogs will want to be outside with you. If you are apprehensive and miserable, they will pick up on it. I say get a warm coat for your B and warm clothes for yourself and just go for it (of course paying attention if your B is suffering in the cold or deep snow). Ella's first winter and the first snow day of each new winter she is a little apprehensive about the change of season. Just becasue they hesitate or hang up for a few minutes does not mean they will not eventually love it. Ella is famous for that. So I would not rule out having somewhat normal outside exercise in the winter, as long as you are committed to it too. My biggest problem exercising Ella in the winter are the short days.
we cross country ski together all the time
I used to do that with my second girl. We were living in Northern Ontario at the time, and I would head out across the lake on my skis. She quickly learned to follow in my tracks, and we went in temperatures down to 10F, without any boots or coat for her. When we got back, she would literally shiver for 15 minutes or so before she warmed back up, but she was a tough girl, and loved going out with me. This same girl once took off and chased a snowmobile pulling an ice fishing hut. She must have run a couple of miles before she gave it up! :)
We don't have snow here in N CA, only cold rain. Buddy has thick fur and he'll walk in the rain. He wears no raincoat. He hesitates a little going out the door but then happily goes along shaking the water off every 20 yards. :o. He surprised me one time when I opened the door, saying or doing nothing and he went right out in the rain and stood in the middle of the yard peeing getting soaked.
Oooh, I'm excited to see little Kamar this winter. It's getting pretty cold here now (a bit below 0 C), and where we live it usually goes down to at least -30 C. So I guess I just need to coat him up and put some booties on him. He usually follows my flat coated retriever in whatever he's doing, and that dog loves the snow, so I don't think it will be a big problem (just that he would fall down in his foot steps in the deep snow when jumping after him). :)
I find Basenjis will grow coat if they live in a harsh climate. However, if you sabotage this by allowing them to sleep next to the fireplace or wood stove, they won't do as well in the cold. My Lady had her best winter days when we lived in a rather drafty rental, not so much once we bought a well insulated winterized cottage and installed a wood stove. She was never quite as "hardy" after that. :) (sure did love that stove, though!)