The temperature may be dropping and we may have lost a whole hour of sunlight, but that doesn’t mean your dog should skip out on his daily exercise. Despite our first instinct in cold, brutal weather to stay indoors and cozy up by the fire, it is vital that your pup gets active! So on those cold fall days where you can’t face the thought of walking your dog in the dark, try some of these creative ways to get your dog active (no coats required!).

Challenge their mind

Just like you enjoy brain games that demand problem solving, canines enjoy tough challenges too! Whether you work on teaching them a new trick (try these training treats) or engage your dog in a memory game, challenging your dog is a great way to work on their ability to solve problems—all while having fun!

Stair climbing

If it is really too cold to take your pup outside for a quick jog, try using the stairs! It is readily available in your home and a great way to tire your dog out fast. The elevation not only adds difficulty and challenge, but also engages muscles that are not used on a regular walk or run. Try throwing a tennis ball or their favorite toy up the stairs and have your dog bring it back. Just after a few laps up and down, your dog will be winded! End the exercise session with a good bone to chew on.

Nose Work

Yet another way to challenge your dog mentally and physically is through games that engage their sense of smell. An all-time favorite is “Hide and Seek.” Command your pup to “stay” while you hide in a closet or behind a curtain. You can even hide with their favorite treat. When you command “come” have your dog come find you. This not only reinforces obedience, but also exercises their body and brain at the same time! It’s a win-win.

Obstacle Courses

If you’re feeling adventurous and creative (or if you have kids to help!), try building an indoor obstacle course. You can set up a course with anything you have lying around the house—boxes, pillows, chairs—and have your dog navigate through. This activity is not only physically stimulating, but also requires your dog to think about how to get around obstacles. Try hiding treats throughout to keep your dog engaged and excited. What are some of your favorite creative ways to exercise your pet? Share them with us!