With the holidays approaching, so too are the cookies, parties, and big meals. This affects our pups, too. With family and friends around, there are more people sneaking treats and table scraps to our dogs without us realizing.
Cold temperatures and shorter days make outdoor activities less desirable, which actually makes it a great time to get out with your dog. Not only are there holiday events going on all the time, but because the weather keeps others indoors, you’ll often have the trails to yourself. So go ahead and eat an extra gingerbread man or two because you and your dog will be eager to get active outside after reading this list of ideas to keep you going through the cold months.
#1 Set a Goal: Do you have your eye on a spring marathon? Maybe you just want to exercise every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Perhaps you want to maintain your weight during the holiday season while not being too restrictive on your treats. Whatever your goal, decide on something achievable and realistic. Tell your friends to keep you honest and maintain a log to track your activity. Setting goals will help you move forward.
#2 Sign up for a race: From Turkey Trots to Jingle Bell runs, plenty of races go on during the holiday season, and a lot of them are dog-friendly! By signing up for a race, it will force you to train for the event and thus get you moving regularly.
#3 Make a doggy date with a friend: If you set up a time to meet with someone, there is a low chance that you are going to cancel due to weather or laziness. Regular meet ups with friends are a great way to ensure that you and your pup continue to get outside, even if the weather is not ideal.
#4 Try a new sport: Head to the mountains and try a hand at snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. These are both great winter activities to do with your dog and trying something new and exciting will make you more eager to get out into the cold weather. Plus, if you like it, then you’ll continue to head back out for more!
#5 Join a running club: Some running clubs do not require membership fees, while others allow new members to try out the club for a few runs. Many plan fun runs during the holiday season, like a Thanksgiving morning trail run or a Christmas light run. Many running clubs, especially trail running clubs, love and welcome dogs.
#6 Find a local hiking group on Facebook: These are informal groups that plan regular outings in your area and some are even dog-specific. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new friends with other dogs and discover some new trails.
#7 Make a friend on Instagram: Instagram is responsible for creating communities of people with similar interests all over the world. With the dog niche so popular, there are certainly dog accounts in your area. The best way to find them is to search by a local hashtag, like #pnwonderdogs, as an example. If your local area doesn’t have a dog-specific hashtag, then search by location.
Jen Sotolongo is a writer and photographer and runs Long Haul Trekkers, a blog about independent, responsible travel with a pet. Over the past 1.5 years, she and her partner have taken their dog, Sora on a cycle tour spanning across Europe and South America, proving that adventures can include your dog, no matter where in the world they may be.