Is your Boston Terrier a fan of winter? Bella, my Boston, hates the cold weather. And I have met a lot of Boston owners who say the same thing. If it is cold or raining outside, my Boston isn’t going out.
While your dog may prefer to snuggle in those blankets with you, she still needs her exercise.
- 15 Indoor Exercises
- 4 Outdoor Exercises
- 1 Special Exercise
Let us first look at some exercises your Boston Terrier can do if she would rather not see her own breath.
Indoor Exercises Your Boston Terrier Can Do In The Winter
There are many options for indoor fun. First, we will cover indoor activities you can do at home, then some options for you away from home, but still indoors.
1) Play Fetch
While this is a great backyard game, it can still be played indoors. Ensure you are playing fetch in a clear area with a soft toy that won’t break a window if things get a little out of hand.
However, you don’t have to have a lot of open space as it can make the game more fun if your Boston has to go around furniture or other obstacles.
Be sure to incorporate sit and stay commands as well to enforce good manners and exercise the brain at the same time.
2) Hide And Seek
Hide treats, or your Boston Terrier’s favorite toy, and then have them find it (or hide yourself). This may take a little training and help from another person before your dog gets really into it. But, when they do, Hide and Seek is a game that can be played anywhere.
3) Stair Running
If you have stairs in your home, one of the fastest ways to tire out your Boston and get them the excise they need is to have them run up and down the stairs. Simply have your Boston follow you as you run, this will be some excellent cardio for you as well.
If you don’t have stairs in your home, merely clear a path where you can have your Boston follow you running from room to room.
4) Tug Of War
You may be surprised at how much exercise a pup can get from a game of tug of war since they don’t actually seem to be moving much. Tug of war is a great muscle strengthener, and not just for the jaw muscles.
Put a little variation into it by changing the length of the rope or even the toy that you play it with and the type of flooring you play on. Since carpet and hardwood offer very different levels of traction, the game of tug of war can change significantly depending on the footing your dog is on.
Is Tug Of War Good Or Bad For Your Boston?
According to Dr. Mary Burch, director of the American Kennel Club Family Dog Program and a certified animal behaviorist says playing tug of war with dogs is okay.
There has been a lot of debate as to whether tug of war creates aggression in your dogs. Dr. Burch states that playing tug of war games actually strengthens the bond between you and your dog, all while releasing pent up energy.
Even Cesar Millan recognizes the tug of war game as okay to play. However, he discourages it if you do not have the proper trust and respect in place between you and your dog.
Stop Tug Of War If
- Your Boston Stops Listening To Your Commands: Release, Sit, Stay, etc.
- Becomes Overly Excited
- Starts To Nip At You
5) Interactive Toys
You don’t even have to be present to give your dog a little stimulation. If your Boston is capable of taking a self-sufficient approach to exercise, interactive toys may be your savior.
There are many options out there to choose from. Everything from motorized mice to a ball in a tube, interactive toys can get your dog moving in a very little space even while you’re at work.
6) Lasers And Other Handhelds
Now before you start thinking that I’m confusing Boston Terriers with cats, hear me out. Dogs are curious creatures, and many can be intrigued by lasers and handheld toys like wands.
Lasers offer the quick motions that get your dog’s attention and may even encourage your dog to run and jump in response.
7) Puzzle Games To Use During The Winter
Exercise shouldn’t be restricted to just the body. It should include the mind as well. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical.
If your Boston Terrier is motivated by treats, then there is no shortage of puzzle toys that will keep them mentally stimulated. Some puzzles require your pup to probe for treats through small openings or to roll the toy in a specific way to get the treats to come out.
Exercise your Boston’s brain this winter with some of these activities.
8) New Tricks
Even old dogs can benefit from this one, teach them new tricks. Not only does this give your dog some mental stimulation, but it is also a great way to bond with them.
Besides, what’s more fun than a dog that can dance on their hindlegs wearing a tutu or one that can roll over first one way and then the other.
9) Learn The Name Of Toys
I realize that Boston’s do not speak English or any other understandable language for that matter. However, they are more than capable of understanding some basic English words.
I’m not talking about just ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ or ‘down’; many dogs can go on to learn the names of their toys as well. As you probably are already aware, Bostons are smart little tuxedo wearers. Teaching them some toy names shouldn’t be too much trouble.
Not only will this provide mental stimulation while you’re doing it, but it will also make games like fetch, and hide & seek easier. Stick to single or two-word names, such as duck or blue bear, to ensure that it sticks.
Show them the toy and then repeat the name over and over. Then ask them to get the _Blank_. When they do, praise like crazy.
Here is a video on how to teach your dog the name of its toys. If you are against the use of clickers just use praise and treats as seen in the video.
10) The Shell Game
Similar to the one you may see at a carnival or fair, the shell game is one that can keep your pet’s attention and work those brain cells at the same time.
- Place a treat under a see-through cup alongside one or two other empty cups
- Switch the cup’s positions slowly enough that your pup can follow the treat.
- Next, have your pup choose the cup with the treat.
- If your dog gets good at this game, try it with cups that they can’t see through.
Places Away From Home, But Indoors
For this section, let’s look at some indoor venues that you can take your Boston to burn some energy on cold, wintery days.
11) Pet-Friendly Stores
Many retail stores now realize the importance of the human-animal bond and do a great job of supporting this bonding by allowing customers to bring their pets in the store with them.
Since retail stores are huge, your Boston can get some great exercise just following you around while you shop. While pet stores are the obvious choice for some indoor walking, you may want to look into other stores. Here is a list of stores that allow pets…
Stores That Allow Pets
Here are 10 Stores that are pet-friendly according to rover.com.
- Tractor Supply Company
- The Apple Store
- Bass Pro Shop
- Pottery Barn
Learn about more dog-friendly stores and what they allow here, Rover’s Most Dog-Friendly Stores In America.
12) An Obedience Class
Even if your Boston Terrier wrote the book on good manners, signing them up for an obedience class during the winter will still have its benefits. Obedience classes provide a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, as well as socialization for your Boston.
It also never hurts to practice those good behavior skills to keep them fresh on your pup’s brain.
If you want to learn more about obedience training what it is about, types, and where are classes? Check out this article by the American Kennel Club, Basic Obedience Training For Your Dog.
13) Indoor Agility
Nothing wears your dog out like running, jumping, and navigating through an agility course. Boston Terriers are great candidates for agility as they are quick to learn and ready to please their dog parents.
While some agility obstacles may be tough for your Boston to maneuver, most of them are easily managed, fun, and great exercises. The agility craze is far from over, so finding an indoor version for the winter for your Boston shouldn’t be too complicated, depending on your area.
Finding Indoor Dog Agility Facilities
At this point in time, there is no central resource to locate indoor agility facilities. However, simply doing a Google search with, “indoor dog agility facility near me,” will point you in the right direction during your search.
14) Indoor Dog Park
Yes, it’s a real thing, and what a great idea! Indoor dog parks offer all of the benefits of exercise and socialization that outdoor parks do only in a climate-controlled, snow-free environment.
These facilities give your dog freedom for all kinds of play. Exercise the same precautions that you would with an outdoor dog park and make sure your Boston is current on vaccinations and monitor all doggie interactions to prevent illness or injury.
Here is a list of 10 Incredible Indoor Dog Parks to visit according to HGTV.
15) Doggie Treadmills
A treadmill is a great way to get your pup moving when it’s cold outside. There are unique doggie versions, but human treadmills work as well. If you don’t believe me, check out all of the YouTube videos of pups following their pet parents on the treadmill.
If you don’t have the space for a treadmill in your home, look into animal physical therapy facilities.
These therapy facilities come well equipped and may offer specific appointments for dogs without physical therapy or rehabilitation needs to use their equipment, especially during inclement weather.
How To Find A Rehab Facility
Unfortunately, there is no good resource listing all the rehab facilities with treadmills online. The best place to start would be to call your veterinarian and ask them if they know of any facilities in your area with this type of equipment.
If you explain to your veterinarian your goal of getting more exercise for your Boston they may be able to help in ways you didn’t imagine.
Winter Outdoor Exercises For Your Boston Terrier
Since Boston terriers aren’t equipped with a thick, luxurious coat, winter may not be their favorite time to be outdoors.
Here Is What Other Boston Terrier Owners Say About Cold Weather And Their Boston
But with some alterations, your Boston can still enjoy a little outdoor time in the winter. When taking your dog outdoors in the cold, be sure to always watch them for signs that they are cold, such as shivering or decreased activity.
Check out these wintry exercises for pups that enjoy the outdoors.
16) Take A Walk
If you’re a winter outdoors person, you look forward to a clear, crisp morning walk. Maybe your Boston is the same.
If your dog doesn’t seem to mind being out in the cold, bring them with you. You can still maintain a regular walk schedule, provided that the sidewalks or paths aren’t too deep in snow.
Just make some minor modifications like slipping your Boston into an insulated jacket and warm booties.
You may want to stick to routes that you can easily short-cut or end in case you need to get back to warmth quickly.
Pro Tip: Doggie Backpack
Your Boston’s winter outings are more likely to be shorter than those in the warmer months, so make them count.
Try taking your pup for a walk wearing a doggie backpack with a little weight in it. That way, she can still get a good workout without as long of a duration. Booties and a coat are always a good idea.
Be sure to check the weight standard of a backpack before purchase.
17) Hill Climbs
Similar to a weighted backpack for you, taking your Boston on a hilly walk will create a great workout in a shorter period. Your Boston will get a good workout in quickly, allowing you and her to get back to warmth quickly.
18) Make It A Run
For an even quicker outing, try running. Again, stick to routes that you can easily short-cut or get back to warmth quickly if your dog becomes too tired, cold, or the depth of the snow gets to be a problem.
19) Dog Park
The dog park isn’t off-limits in the winter, provided the snow isn’t too deep, and your Boston will get out and run for 10-15 minutes. Always dress your dog appropriately and monitor their interactions with other dogs.
Doesn’t Fit As An Exercise
20) Get Them A Friend
The last “exercise” for Boston Terriers in winter doesn’t really fit into any of the above categories. But it could be one of the most fun for your Boston and you, get them a furry friend!
Bostons are social creatures and usually relish in the affections of another dog. Not only will they enjoy snuggling in a shared bed, but they will also be more apt to get up and move with a furry playmate to chase or wrestle with.
Winter can be a hard time of year to get some of that excess Boston Terrier energy burned off. They don’t make the best snow dogs but don’t count them completely out when it comes to getting outside when it is cold.
With a few extra layers and a little more consideration, Boston’s can still exercise outdoors for short periods. But having a few indoor exercises in your back pocket never hurts.
An important thing to remember when it comes to exercising your Boston in the winter is to provide some variety. Maybe it’s a game of tug of war one day, a hilly walk the next, and an indoor dog park on the weekend.
Also, be sure to sprinkle some mentally stimulating activities in there with the purely physical ones to keep both minds and bodies sharp for healthy and happy winter months.
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