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So what you guys do for exercise when it is REALLY cold? DO any of you use treadmills and if you do, how did you get your Dobie or other dog used to it? I know there was a thread about treadmills recently. I understand that not everyone agrees with their use, but for s single-coated dog in the Alaskan Interior.... well, you get the idea. I already have a fleece-lined jacket for her and some paw protectors for her.:help_up_2
 

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Cat J said:
So what you guys do for exercise when it is REALLY cold? DO any of you use treadmills and if you do, how did you get your Dobie or other dog used to it? I know there was a thread about treadmills recently. I understand that not everyone agrees with their use, but for s single-coated dog in the Alaskan Interior.... well, you get the idea. I already have a fleece-lined jacket for her and some paw protectors for her.:help_up_2
Cat J,

Isn't your Dobe young--like 6 months? That's too young for regimented exercise like a treadmill. At that age and probably until 14 to 16 months dogs in the Dobe size range should get as much free choice exercise as possible and exercise by treadmill, bike or car should be restricted.

Even single coated dogs can be exercised outside in pretty low temperatures. You need to make sure they are active (which for a puppy is going to usually mean that you will need to go out with them and throw balls or something to keep them running. It's only when they end up standing around that extremities like ears and feet are significantly in danger of frost bite.

I found in Vermont (not as cold as interior Alaska but cold) that the two dogs I was living with (Beagle and Aussie) dealt with cold down to 20-30 below zero just fine--once they stop playing and taken care of business they came back inside. At 40 below they went out only to poop and pee--they didn't stay out--that was too cold for both of them.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and don't have a significant cold problem but we have pretty constant rain and often my dogs think that going out in the rain is not fun but some sort of torture. I use various techniques to get them some exercise (particularly the puppies) through the long rainy winters. One house I lived in had a long hall that I tossed balls down--you can do a pretty good job of exercising a puppy that way. Another place had stairs--it's amazing how much exercise you can get out of stairs and a ball. I also do a lot of inside training and preliminary work for a variety of things that the dogs will be doing when they are older. I teach attention exercises, sits, stands, stays complete with hand and voice signals to the puppies. Since my dogs have started doing rally I've started teaching them how to back up as well--none of this stuff takes much room and sometimes mental exercise is more demanding than strictly physical exercise.

A friend taught a puppy of hers scent discrimination and the basic retreive on the flat one particularly rainy winter.

Since all my dogs start out intended as conformation dogs I spend quite a lot of time teaching them to stack for the ring, free stack, to bait, to put their ears up and look alert.

The only big problem is that lack of running exercise tends to leave the dogs somewhat undermuscled by the time the weather gets better but it only takes about six weeks for the adults to muscle up. The puppies take longer but they never had the muscle in the first place and over the course of the summer (if they are between 6 and 18 months) that develops too.

One of the things that several handlers have told me about treadmill exercise (if you have a dog who is old enough to be doing treadmill work) is that although it might be better than nothing at all most dogs worked on a treadmill who don't have a lot of free exercise to go with it develop some odd gait patterns. Spraddling in the rear (moving wide) is just one. One of the handlers speculated that it is an attempt to not overrun the front when moving on a treadmill--he also thought that it shortened a dogs forward reach.
 

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When it's really cold outside you could always do some indoor obedience training. Keeping the dog's mind alert is as important as keeping their physical exercise up. Letting them out for 15-min periods during cold weather will not hurt them as long as they are moving (chasing a frizbe, tennis ball). Java loves the snow as long as she is wearing a coat and is moving. As long as the ear tips are warm, they will do fine. Once they are cold to your touch, (I check Java's every 10 min or so) it's time to get inside.

I've heard mixed reviews on treadmills, but the one constant is that you never leave a dog unattended, which is just common sense...
 
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