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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for some ideas on activities I can do to help increase Bianca's muscle tone over the winter... We don't get out for as long or get as much exercise in the winter because of the harsh weather-- it gets very cold and when there is un-shovelled snow on the sidewalks (or solid ice) it is very difficult to walk for long distances. My friend whose dog usually plays with Bianca several times a week for exercise is very cold intolerant so we haven't had a playdate with them in weeks.
I'm hoping to start an agility class with Bianca next week but I know that one class a week is not enough to build muscle and stamina... I need to start some sort of exercise program with her but I don't know what we can do that would be winter friendly and not expensive...
 

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Do you have a treadmill? I was thinking of trying it out with my kids, though I'm the one who really needs it


I've also seen weight vests for dogs but I don't know if I like the idea. Maybe if training for a weight pulling contest...
 

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Nope no treadmill...there'd be nowhere to put it. I'd have to sleep on it LOL.
I do have an exercise bike, too bad Bianca can't use that!


I thought about maybe having her carry a backpack with some weight in it but I am not sure if that would help much since our walks are not as long as usual in the winter...
 

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Do you have a long hallway or a table that you can set up for 'go arounds'? - course I'm imagining a ball etc involved with this so if she's not much of a fetch girl, you'll need to be creative


Definitely go to the agility class - the trainer may have some good ideas for your area & hopefully you'll meet some prospective playmates ( oops ... that sounds pretty awful
)
 

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Do you have a yard or a playground nearby that you could get to? Maybe set up some homemade/found agility stuff in the yard (I used a canoe for their jumps, for instance) or use the playground for agility.
 

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im in michigan, so i just bundle up and try to take walks as long as possible. (my dog certainly would stay out all day if i let her when it is over 10 degrees out, though its been in the 20's and 30's most of the winter) the more hills you can walk the better, though i know many part of chicagoland are pretty flat.
 

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Originally Posted By: roxy84im in michigan, so i just bundle up and try to take walks as long as possible. (my dog certainly would stay out all day if i let her when it is over 10 degrees out, though its been in the 20's and 30's most of the winter) the more hills you can walk the better, though i know many part of chicagoland are pretty flat.
That's what I do, but with the cold and the snow/ice we often don't get very far... Especially since it is usually dark before I get home and it gets even colder at night (plus not as safe to walk.)
We don't really have any hills around here, well except for a few parks that have small man-made hills.
 

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If it is colder than -20C (-4F), Miya refuses to walk so I play fetch with her (40+ rounds) twice a day plus I use a fire hose tug as well to play tug with her.

In the evening, I use a mountaineering headlamp in the dark and wear ice traction cleats called Kahtoola Microspikes (try going to REI)
 

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Wimps!
Nothing but WIMPS on this board LOL!!

Anyone see me going around whining and complaining about the cold? I'm out there, dark, snow, wind, hail. SHORT days! Cold like you guys have never experienced! Polar bears in my backyard!! (just kidding!)

Running through the snow to find/retrieve balls and sticks is a great muscle builder/conditioner. On weekends (only because it is dark by late afternoon this time of year), we take to the trails on cross-country skis - we can cover so much more territory that way! If you don't ski, try snowshoes. Make the snow your friend, not your enemy.

I also have lunging whip - like a horse buggy whip for Keeta to chase. She just loves it! Her favorite game of all! I can whip it around and she runs, jumps, twirls, goes nuts trying to catch it, then once she has it, we tug. Full cardio for her in 10-15 minutes of non-stop play in a small area. This is great after a big huge dump of snow and the roads and my field are not negotiable. Watch it because some dogs will get into "overdrive" with that much prey stimulation (Gryff does, and Falkor used to also). They get so hyped up, they jump and snap at anything that moves, including your arms and hands. So Gryff does not get to play, but he will fetch all day, so we can do that instead.

I also often go to large parking lots where the snow removal equipment has left huge mountains of piled-up snow. Throw snowballs UP the pile, and if safe, over the pile for the dogs to run up and over and fetch and come back. Sticks if there are any, but I don't bring a ball, I don't want to loose it, nor do I want the dogs to chase it if I throw it wild.

I scratch my head as to why a bit of snow and ice or cold seems to paralyze people so much? The secret about cold weather is to keep moving to stay warm - which is sorta all part of excersicing and building muscle. So Amp up your enthousiasm and find something fun for both you and Bianca, and if you look around, I am sure your will discover new ways to play and excercise.

Edited to add: Just saw your post tintallie, you are obviously not a winp! Carry on!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
One problem is when the snow does not get shovelled and a lot of people walk through it, you either get a sort of churned-up mush that is very slippery and hard to walk through (a lot like climbing through loose sand, but slippery) or you get lots of ridges of ice. I tire out pretty quickly when I have to slog through that so we often don't get in more than a mile and hardly ever more than two when it's this cold.

Bianca's not big on fetching. She will chase a toy in the house but she gets bored with it after several throws. Outside she'll usually walk over and sniff the toy I threw and then walk away, or just ignore it completely.
 

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That thick slippery slush is hard to walk through - at least, YOU'RE building muscle LOL! And if Bianca isn't into fetch . . . that does make it harder to come up with games and activities she would like.

Bianca has a back-pack, right? Carrying weights would do the trick. And how is she for running after treats? If you threw a treat, would she run to get it and then run back to you as you throw a treat in the other direction?

Or some of the exercises that Agility people do to teach body-awareness, requires a lot of body/movement control. You could post in the agility section and ask for ideas, or look at some of the videos posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If I could find a way to make her more interested in fetch it would be great... Maybe if I give her a treat whenever she brings me a toy or something?

Yep, she has a backpack so we can do that. I don't know if she would run after a treat if I threw one, I don't think I've ever tried that. I'll give it a try!

I would definitely be interested in those body awareness type of exercises, I guess I'll ask in the agility section. I am interested in those type of things... An agility trainer in my area offers "fitness and conditioning classes" which I really would love to do with Bianca but they only offer that in private sessions which are too expensive for me ($65/hour).
 

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These microspikes will let you walk on ANYTHING!! (http://www.kahtoola.com/microspikes.php)

When it was below -20C (4F) as Castlemaid has suggested, rounds of fetch in the deep snow in the backyard really tired my pup out (she thinks it's bed time at 5pm instead of 10pm!)

Will Bianca play tug? A treadmill? Playing hide and seek with treats?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
She won't really play tug. She will tug a bit sometimes if I hold on to a toy she really likes but if I pull too hard she lets go and she never tugs for more than a minute or two. Maybe I'll try being more gentle with my tugging back, I used to have a terrier so I am used to having to YANK and hold on for dear life when I play tug LOL...
I don't have a treadmill. A friend of mine has one and her daughter tried to get Bianca to hop on it when we were visiting recently but Bianca was completely confused.
I'll try hiding treats, I'm not sure if she would understand the game but we'll see. If I do that should I give her tracking command or would that be confusing?
 

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I haven't started tracking with Miya's trainer yet, but she has clued into "Where's ______ ?" and she goes looking for the item or person.
 

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I have a single agility jump indoors and have Nikon go back and forth over it, not from running but usually standing or sitting right in front of the jump (so he has to use his muscles to power over it and control his rear).
 

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I walk with my 2 dogs everyday. Everyday; rain, shine, hot, cold, snow or freezing. They have to exercise. We are lucky to have some wooded areas around the city and there are snowmobile trails through them. I have walked in snowstorms and minus 25 F. You dress for it and have the resolve that it has to be done. I have never missed a day with my guys. They go no matter what, it does not matter to them one day is the same as the next. They love the snow or rain and don't seem to be bothered by the cold. They are perfectly equipped to handle any condition. You just have to do it!
 
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