Winter exercise???

Hi all,
I live in Wisconsin, and the freezing temperatures and snow have come early this year, I would say the temp has not gone above 30 in at least 2 weeks. We got our Basenji, Tosca, last year in February, and while we had to deal with the cold for awhile, I was generally able to walk her without problem since the temperatures were starting to get better. This year, however, I don't know what to do. She is used to taking about 4 hour long walks per week, but there is now way that is happening in this weather. I tried taking her out last weekend and last night and both times she lasted about 20 minutes, if that. The problem is, half the sidewalks are covered in ice and snow, so she is not only cold, her paws can't take it. All of a sudden she will stop and she looks so pathetic and sad, she tries to lift as many limbs off of the ground as she can, and just looks miserable. So I pick her up, hold her for a block or so, then she will walk a bit further, and we repeat the process until we get home.
I just feel bad because I don't think she will be getting many walks at all from now until at least February. She has had 2 now only within the last week, and I don't think she much enjoyed either experience. I feel bad because my husband and I both work, so on weekdays she is crated from about 7-4. She does great with this, and actually has been an angel even despite such few walks. I thought she would be reckless and destructive without that energy release, but luckily no. Could this be because she is no longer a puppy (she is approx 4-5).
So anyway, my question is, do any of you who live in the cold climates have any advice for me on how she can get exercise? Do I need to worry about her if she does barely walk for the next 2-3 months, as long as her behavior is ok? Like I said, she doesn't seem to miss the walks (yet), but I am worried about making her weak/fat/out of shape from no exercise. My husband does wrestle/chase her around the house which she loves and gets her some exercise, but I know thats not the same thing as an hour long walk 4X/week. Any advice/suggestions? We are thinking of trying a sweater/boots, but I kinda doubt she will wear the boots and her paws on the ice/snow are the main problem.
Thank you so much!

We don't live in Wisconsin, but when the temp drops below 40, I don't like being outside for very long. We bought a laser pointer which one of our dogs loves and the other couldn't care less about. Lexi loves it. And she will chase it forever! She gets decent exercise with it. Otherwise we just chase the kids around the house for their B500 of the day. Mine haven't gotten fat in the winters so far! 😉 I tried the boots, but my kids don't like them.

Mine is really good in the cold/snow. I live in Ohio and it gets really cold.. We put a sweater on him and then his coat. We were also gonna try boots, but he doesnt seem to mind his paws in the snow. I would try boots, they may help. But even with the boots and sweater/coats an hour walk would probably be too long, but you may be able to go longer than with no coat/boots.. i saw some really nice dog boots at wal-mart.. hope you find something that works!!

You can try a laser light in the house. My dogs love to chase it around.

I'm from Michigan, in the winter I sign up for dog class for exercise and its warm inside works well for us. There exhausted when we get home they sleep like baby's

Yes, these WI winters are the pits! We have a 14 year old B girl and she hates being out in the cold. We put a sweater (or two, depending on the temp) on her. She does have fabric boots which she will wear. She tends to loose them, so I have to watch. The other thing I might mention is the SALT. I think that hurts their feet the most because the melting ice is colder and sticks to her feet. After a snow, I always carry my dog across the street to lessen the contact w/ salt. Some people put it on their sidewalks and I'll pick her up and carry her til we're past. This seems to help her feet alot. She will tolerate the cold, but if the feet go, it's all over. She gets less exercise in the winter, but it doesn't seem to effect her. If she seems a bit "depressed" we just give her more attention or play time.

Do you have a treadmill? You can try putting her on that…ggg... and they do make those for dogs... but a human on can be modified just making sides for the dog to use... that will wear them out...
and yes, laser lights work sometimes too..

Thanks for the help everyone! I may look into a class or something, maybe that could be her Christmas present 🙂 Jody, I noticed you were from WI too, where in WI are you? We live in Kiel, near Sheboygan. I don't think I noticed anyone else from WI on here before 🙂
We will see tomorrow about trying again for a walk, I was going to today but it didn't go above 11 degrees…however, tomorrow its supposed to be a balmy 25, so we will see...
Thanks again for all your help!

If you do a google search for paw protection for snow you will get many products that you could use instead of booties. Things like Musher's Secret, Paw Wax, and Paw Butter. One website says you can even use cooking spray to form a barrier between the pad and the ice and snow.

If you are worried about weight gain with less activity, watch her weight and adjust her food as needed. Feeding is always dynamic in my house, portions change as activity levels change.

And there is stuff that we use for shows called Tacky Paws.. if you can keep the paws mostly dry… she might not mind the cold, wet, salt... etc... booties might work too....

Thanks once again! I didn't know these wax things even existed 🙂 I was doing research online for them and they don't seem to be too expensive, so maybe I will try it, I am leaning towards the Paw Wax. Has anyone here used any of these products firsthand? I read reviews and they were mixed, some said it was almost impossible to apply since the dogs just tried to lick it off, which I would'nt put past Tosca. Also, I was wondering if they are messy? Like if she has it on her paws, does anyone know if she has to avoing going on the carpet so she doesn't get it messy?
Thanks once again 🙂

If you put it on right before you go out, I would think after a fairly long walk it would be gone… but you should be able to wipe it off when you get home... Most of these items are just like "tacky fingers" that you use to shuffle through paper... ggg

I live in Minnesota (where it was below zero a couple mornings last week) and EL D will go outside to "do his business" and chase rabbits (I have afenced yard). I think he gets decent exercise flying after the rabbits, which there seems to be a lot of this winter. He refuses to go for walks now however and will scream and hollar when the snow gets compacted in his paws or if there's much road salt. So on weekends I'll take him to the nearby park where the walking paths are fairly well plowed and during the week instead of a laser light (which I'll have to look into myself) I've been tossing an old fishing lure (no hooks of course) on a string for him to chase around the basement. He loves that.

Just a friendly warning that you can cause a dog to develop an OCD/CCD by playing with him/her with laser lights/flashlights. I accidentally did it with my dobie (long passed–RIP big boy). And I can tell, by the way my Magnum likes to chase and bite at reflections (caused by his tags), he's a likely candidate. Some dogs may be predisposed to develop this sort of behavior, but I just don't take the chance anymore. It's a very distressing behavior once it starts and just about impossible to get rid of. JMHO, of course.

I've heard that if a dog continues to look for the light or starts snapping at the air (at nothing) after you've put the laser away, laser light/flashlight play is not a good idea to continue.

That said, I don't really have any good ideas for winter exercise (I live in MN). I just get Magnum going on several good B500s every day. He also loves to chase anything remote controlled.

@gbroxon:

Just a friendly warning that you can cause a dog to develop an OCD/CCD by playing with him/her with laser lights/flashlights. I accidentally did it with my dobie (long passed–RIP big boy). And I can tell, by the way my Magnum likes to chase and bite at reflections (caused by his tags), he's a likely candidate. Some dogs may be predisposed to develop this sort of behavior, but I just don't take the chance anymore. It's a very distressing behavior once it starts and just about impossible to get rid of. JMHO, of course.

I've heard that if a dog continues to look for the light or starts snapping at the air (at nothing) after you've put the laser away, laser light/flashlight play is not a good idea to continue.

That said, I don't really have any good ideas for winter exercise (I live in MN). I just get Magnum going on several good B500s every day. He also loves to chase anything remote controlled.

That is a legitimate concern. Most dogs that have problems like that are prone to OCD like behaviors in other manners..herding dogs are particularly prone to obsessions. I do have one B that gets seriously carried away with the laser light. I can only use it very briefly with her, or she starts chasing reflections, etc. But if I don't do it for a while, the behavior *will go away. You can utilize the laser light with most dogs with no problems…but as you said, if you notice any problems, it is wise to stop.

You might try more short walks. I'm in Utah and last year we had a couple of weeks around 10 degrees. We usually take Samantha on two or three 1 or 2 mile walks a day during the warmer part of the year, but we might get her out for four shorter walks in the colder weather. She also loves playing with a "moose on a rope" - a small (6") stuffed animal that we tied a rope around. We will swing it or drag it around, and she loves to chase and bit it.

Yeah we have to get our walks in otherwise the house gets destroyed :eek: so exercise is a must…but we also vary the exercise:

-training..exercises their brain & they are VERY tired after a 30 minute session.

-treadmill...walks here only when it's just too frigid outside & there's a risk of frostbite for ME and them!

-socializing...if he's got a few good friends that can play for about 20 minutes or so sometimes that's all they need.

Oh & we also use boots when it's deep snow & Mushers Secret balm for their paws when it's icey or there's rock salt on the ground. It helps to go for longer walks.
Good luck!

The wife and I will play "Keep away" with a favorite toy, tossing it back and forth and letting She-Ra have it every once in a while. We're in Arizona, so while it's "cold" now we never have to deal with ice or snow, so that's a bonus.

If the wax doesn't work, try muttluks…my B wears them. It's funny at first for her, but she adjusts and takes her usual walks with them. Keep us posted on how the wax works...very interesting!

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