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January-Dog-Walks-Abigail-and-Charlie

How To Make Winter Dog Walks Fun: 5 Great Tips  

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Last Updated on 28/03/2024 by Claire Coney

Winter dog walks can often feel like a chore. It is sometimes hard to find motivation when the days are short, and the weather is inclement. Who wants to be outdoors when the weather is bad?   

Here are some of my tips to jazz up your dog walks during the winter months and make them fun, healthy and safe.   

dog walk on Exmouth in the Winter
Me and Charlie enjoy a walk on Exmouth beach. Notice my Waterproof Coat and Wellies?

Mix Up Your Winter Dog Walking Route  

Mixing up your winter dog walking routes can enhance your enjoyment. Finding new and interesting places to visit will help stimulate your dog’s mind as well as its body. Taking your dog somewhere different will arouse their senses. Dogs love to explore new sights and smells. Often dogs become destructive when they are bored. It will also help reduce anxiety and expel excess energy. I love to watch my dogs sleeping peacefully after their walk and I am sure you do too.    

Living in Devon I am lucky to have many local dogs walking routes to choose from. I can follow streams through water meadows to the green hills beyond, the look back across the town below.

On rainy days I prefer to meander through the town’s houses and green spaces because my dogs don’t get so mucky. For a change at the weekend, I might take to dogs to the beach, woods or over the common. There is always something for my dogs to look forward to.   

Frosty morning dog walk in devon.
Frosty morning dog walk in Devon. Abigail and Charlie love sniffing in the hedgerows. The mental stimulation makes them tired and they sleep when they get home.

Revisit Good Dog Walking Behaviour During The Winter  

Work on your dog’s walking etiquette. Winter dog walks are an ideal opportunity to focus on your dog’s behaviour. This is something that I do with Charlie, my English Springer Spaniel. As is typical with a lot of Spaniels, Charlie is inclined to pull on the lead. Taking him back through basic training helps Charlie to focus. With Abigail, my Cairn Terrier, it is her recall she needs to practise. Particularly when she has found a squirrel or an interesting smell.   

If you are struggling with training your dog on your own, you could consider training classes. This is also a great way to socialise your dog.   

English Springer Spaniel on Sidmouth Beach
Charlie…Sit! Wait! Good boy Charlie. “Come on Lady take the photo”.

Set Goal for Exercising Your Dog   

Make your exercise goals part of your Winter dog walking routine. Your dog will thank you for it! Tracking your progress against goals is an excellent way of motivating yourself on the dreariest winter’s day.   

Choose a regular dog walking time that suits you. Start your new dog walking routine gradually, 10 minutes per walk, twice a day. Slowly increase the time and distance aiming for 30 minutes daily. You could try a more adventurous dog walk at the weekend.   

Keep your dog walking goals realistic and manageable for you. Long walks are not suitable for all people or dogs. Charlie cannot have long walks because he has a health issue that makes him exercise intolerance. Remember it is important to do what is right for you.   

There are many benefits to walking your dog, for both of you. For me and Abigail, it helps us to maintain weight and fitness. For Charlie, it is one of the ways he can expel energy and increase mental stimulation, but not over-exercise. 

January-Dog-Walks-Abigail-and-Charlie
January is a good time to set some fitness goals. “Let’s go for a walk!”

Waterproof Yourself for Winter Dog Walks   

Winter dog walks are best done in waterproof clothing. Nobody likes to be cold, wet and miserable with a reluctant dog in tow. I know I don’t! It is a good time to check your winter walking equipment. If anything is damaged or broken, you can replace it.   

For Your Dog

Some dogs do not need to wear dog coats in the winter. Take Charlie for instance. He is designed for winter weather and is delighted to play in every mucky puddle he can find! It makes him a happy dog. But, for small or older dogs a cosy coat might make their walk more enjoyable. Abigail wears her winter dog coat simply because she doesn’t like walking in the rain. Yes, Abigail is the aforementioned “reluctant dog in tow,” without her coat!   

Does your dog enjoy rainy day walks, or would they rather stay at home like Abigail? Let me know in the comment below, just for fun!  

Many of us will need to walk our dogs in the dark before and after work. For safety’s sake make sure you are visible. It is a good idea to use reflective dog clothing to make sure you are easily seen in the dark. In addition to reflective dog coats, you can buy reflective dog leads and collars. Or why not, treat your dog to flashing lead and collar with lights?  

Winter dog walks in Devon
Winter dog walks in Devon. Mucky Pup! Abigail is cosy in her winter dog coat

  For You…

But let’s not forget us humans. We want to be warm and dry too, right? So, make sure you have a warm waterproof coat and leggings. I love my Waterproof hiking trousers because they are so comfortable. Also, you might consider a thermal base layer and a fleece under your coat. But, most important of all is waterproof footwear. Wellies are good, though I prefer Walking boots. Finally, don’t forget that you should also be visible in the dark. You can use a combination of reflective clothing and touches.   

Winter dog walks on Sidmouth beach in Devon
Me and Charlie enjoying some winter sunshine on Sidmouth Beach. It’s invigorating to be outdoors! I’m toasty in my quilted raincoat, winter fleece-lined walking trousers and walking boots.

Socialize When Walking Your Dog  

Walking your dog is a great way to socialize with other people and dogs. It’s always a great start to my day when I smile at someone and their face light up. In no time, these chance meetings turn into chats and your dog will have some new fur friends to play with.   

Alternatively, head to your nearest dog park to meet like-minded people and dogs. Or you may prefer to take your dog to advanced-level obedience training classes. You could even introduce your dog to something different such as an agility class or a local dog walking group. Whatever way you choose to socialise with your dog, will bring a new dimension into your life. 

Winter beach walks Sidmouth in Devon
Winter beach walks Sidmouth in Devon. Cold but Fun!

Wrapping It Up 

Now you are all set to have fun and enjoy your winter dog walks. 

Here’s a quick recap of the key takeaways: 

  • Mix up your winter dog walking routine. Take your dog to a new and exciting place that arouses their senses. 
  • Revisit training with your dog. Reinforce past training and consider advanced dog training classes to learn new skills 
  • Set exercise goals to increase your and your dog’s activity and fitness levels. 
  • Ensure you and your dog have waterproof clothing to keep you both for winter walks 
  • Meeting up with other dog owners and socialise 

By following these tips, you and your furry friend can enjoy winter walks together. 

Ok, now I want to know: 

What do you do to make your winter dog walks fun? 

Let me know in the comments below. 

(Psss… If you want to know how to keep your dog from freezing on winter walks, take a look at choosing a winter dog coat

Charlie on Sidmouth Beach.


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