Winter activities - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Winter activities

This will be my first winter with Max. He is a 10 month old GSD/Mal, he is used to running everyday with me, and it throws him off for the day when we don't get to. He gets about 4-5 hrs a day exercise/training/play. I plan on trying to keep with this as much as possible. I am just curious what you all do with your dogs during the winter. We have a ton of parks in our area, and I live across the city park with a golf course where people sled, I'm also thinking about playing with him out there. Is there anything I have to watch out for? How long should he be out at a time? Is there anything special people do for their dogs paw pads? Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. He seems to be really into what snow we've had. Thanks.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 12:28 PM
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I put booties on my dog when it gets really cold (down below 20 or so is my approximate guideline). She also has Musher's Secret slathered on her pads a few times a week during the winter to help protect against salt. A friend told me her guideline was that if her nose was too cold, her dog was probably too cold too, and it was time to go in. I've found that works pretty well for us too.

As for fun, I'll put a long line on her and run her around an empty soccer field or softball diamond with a soccer ball. I'm going to buy a flirt pole for this winter, too. Tug in the yard is still fun for her. My husband will run up a hill with her and then they slide/run down.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 12:25 PM
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I second the recommendation for Musher's Secret. I keep some in shallow, wide mason jars so I can dip a little bit out and coat paws. I don't worry too much about her paws in the snow, but some of the plow drivers use WAY too much salt around here and the roads are caked.

I'd recommend purchasing dog booties (I have a RuffWear set that's lasted me 6+ years and looks like they'll last another decade). I don't put them on unless she cuts one of her paws, which has happened a few times over the years, always on sharp ice while hiking. If you acclimate your dog to wearing booties when young, you won't have a battle if/when you need them.

Snowshoeing with dogs is GREAT fun, one of my favorite things to do in the winter. Winter camping is even better. Bring some good, high calorie treats if you're planning to spend full days outdoors. I usually bring a thermos of soup/broth, and I'll give my dog her snack soaked in warm broth in a collapsible cloth bowl for lunch. Good for hydration. I also bring hardboiled eggs for dog lunches (peel at home, then put them in a ziplock bag in your pocket, they'll stay cool but not frozen, no mess, and contain liquid).

I've spent consecutive days - weeks - winter camping with a GSD, including in the Boundary Waters Wilderness (MN / Canadian border) in subzero temperatures. If you plan ahead, have the correct gear, and make absolutely certain that your dog is getting plenty of good food and liquids, they're wonderful, rugged outdoor companions. The sky's the limit.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 12:34 PM
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Snowshoeing!




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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 12:41 PM
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I take my dogs sledding and bikejoring/dog scootering in the snow with no problems. We actually went out this morning around 430am in 4° weather with snow and ice on the ground and got in 5.4 miles. We have booties, but only wear them if we're running on gravel or similar surfaces. I was making them myself after going through some pairs I purchased at www.dogbooties.com. We have Musher's Secret too, but haven't needed to use it yet.



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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIBackpacker View Post
I second the recommendation for Musher's Secret. I keep some in shallow, wide mason jars so I can dip a little bit out and coat paws. I don't worry too much about her paws in the snow, but some of the plow drivers use WAY too much salt around here and the roads are caked.

I'd recommend purchasing dog booties (I have a RuffWear set that's lasted me 6+ years and looks like they'll last another decade). I don't put them on unless she cuts one of her paws, which has happened a few times over the years, always on sharp ice while hiking. If you acclimate your dog to wearing booties when young, you won't have a battle if/when you need them.
We tried something like that. They might have been RuffWear. They were about $60 for the set.

We put them on our puppy last winter, in the house, to get her used to them. She immediately started high stepping (think Kitten Mittons from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia). We laughed until we CRIED. Then she figured out how to hook the velcro on the rug or with her teeth and carefully remove the booties. We ended up taking them back and using the disposable rubber ones. They're not as good for protection but she doesn't seem to mind them as much and she keeps them on.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 12:48 PM
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I run with my boy in the winter. Musher's wax to protect his paws from the road salt but he doesn't seem to mind the cold.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 12:51 PM
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Ruffwear makes some quality booties, but most of the Iditarod dogs use the booties similar to what dogbooties sells. I'm sure most of them are probably purchased from dogbooties in bulk. That's why I started making my own to save money, but they take a lot of time to make. My dogs would get maybe 1 wear out of them, as they are meant to be disposable. It just wasn't worth the time to make them. I will have to buy them in bulk once I can afford 1,000 at a time. Ha! They would come in handy as extra precaution/protection, but I inspect my dog's paws and can also analyze how they're running while in progress, and I haven't seen any damage yet from the snow or colder conditions. If I noticed anything different, I would put them all in booties to see if that fixes it. But we only go out for about an hour or less for our daily run in these extreme conditions.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 12:52 PM
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I take my dogs sledding and bikejoring/dog scootering in the snow.....
I'm jealous, I love your pictures. I've been sledding w/friends' huskies, but never tried it with my own dogs. LOVE your pictures, very cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WateryTart View Post
We tried something like that. They might have been RuffWear. They were about $60 for the set.

We put them on our puppy last winter, in the house, to get her used to them. She immediately started high stepping (think Kitten Mittons from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia). We laughed until we CRIED. Then she figured out how to hook the velcro on the rug or with her teeth and carefully remove the booties. We ended up taking them back and using the disposable rubber ones. They're not as good for protection but she doesn't seem to mind them as much and she keeps them on.
Yep, those are probably the same. I learned the hard way, Tica sliced one of her paws open on a camping trip and I made a boot w/gauze, a wool sock, and duct tape so we could hike out. When we got home, I drove straight to REI and bought booties. She wasn't pleased, but I made her wear them for a week straight when she ate her dinner. Eventually she gave up the fight.

Winter Camping, Advanced: Teach them to gather firewood for you!

Last edited by WIBackpacker; 12-01-2015 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Added picture
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 01:02 PM
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I'm jealous, I love your pictures. I've been sledding w/friends' huskies, but never tried it with my own dogs. LOVE your pictures, very cool.
Thanks so much! Those are pics from Thanksgiving Day last week. The full thread is here in case you didn't see ALL of the pics of our adventures in Idaho snow:

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ving-snow.html

I had Nara doing Search & Rescue, and wanted to turn Paw Paw into a working dog as well. That's when we joined the Cascade Sled Dog Club in Oregon. It wasn't long after that I bought a harness for Nara to help build strength and stamina as a sled dog, so she would be a better SAR dog. Ha! Once we added Beowulf and Kaze, it was just natural for all of them, regardless of breed, to become sled dogs!! It's so much fun.
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