Creative dog activities can keep your dog happy (and you snug inside!)

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Samoyeds are energetic, curious dogs. They love to play outside and go for long walks. So what do you do when it’s too cold (for you!) to be outside for a prolonged period? Here are some dog activities and enrichment ideas you can do during the winter. 

9 Dog Activities to Do With Your Samoyed When It’s Too Cold Outside

1. Head to the Store

If it’s simply too cold to go outside, one of the best dog enrichment activities you can do is head to the local store. Pet stores and some retailers like Home Depot are pet-friendly and allow you to bring your leashed pets in. You can go to the store and walk your dog around the perimeter where it’s heated, and also work on training while you’re there. 

Before entering a store, call ahead and make sure it allows leashed pets. 

2. Clear Out the Garage

If you have a garage, park outside for an hour and use it as a mini playroom for your pets. When I had a home without a backyard, I put down cheap area rugs from Walmart to give my dogs traction, and I rolled them up when we were playing. With the rugs down, the dogs could wrestle and play fetch, thoroughly tiring themselves out. 

3. Brush Up on Your Dog’s Training

Working your Samoyed’s brains is an effective way to tire them out. If your dog has already been through training, use training sessions to practice behaviors they know. If your dog is newer to training — or just needs a refresher — the winter months can be a great time to make progress. 

Some excellent training exercises to try include:

  • Puppy pushups: Have your dog lay down, then sit up. Each combination is one puppy pushup. 
  • Extended down: Tell your dog to lay in a certain spot and hold it until you tell them to break. 
  • Place: Teach your dog to hop up on any surface or mat you point to. Ideas include gym mats, dog beds, and raised dog cots. 

4. Invest in Dog Enrichment Puzzles

Puzzle toys are excellent cold-weather dog activities. You fill the toy with treats or a few of the dog’s kibble, and they have to figure out the puzzle to get to the food. There are puzzle toys with different difficulty levels, ranging from easier versions to complex ones. You may be surprised by how quickly your dog learns how to work the puzzle!

Snuffle mats are similar in that you hide food under the little cloth sections. Your dog uses their nose to find each piece of food. 

5. Teach Your Dog New Tricks

Dogs of every age can learn new tricks. Samoyeds are particularly clever, and even senior pets can learn adorable tricks. 

Popular tricks include rollover, shake, high-five, bow, and spin. For ideas and step-by-step training instructions, check out the book 101 Dog Tricks, available as a paperback or on Kindle. 

6. Play Hide and Seek 

This activity works best with a partner. Leash your dog or ask him to sit and stay. The other person goes and hides in another room or behind furniture, then calls the dog. Release the dog to find the person, and repeat! Samoyeds love this game. 

7. Keep Chews and Bones at the Ready

Quality chews and bones can help your dog burn off energy, and it’s also good for their teeth. Good options include bully sticks, Himalayan chews and Kongs stuffed with their kibble. 

8. Get a Backpack

A backpack for your Samoyed can provide an excellent challenge for your dog. Add water bottles or cans of soup to the pouches to add weight to the bag, and you’ll find your dog is satisfied with much shorter walks. In my dogs’ cases, it allowed me to walk just 30 minutes instead of 60+ in the freezing cold. 

9. Suit Up

If your Samoyed is on the younger side, they likely need an extensive amount of exercise. That doesn’t change just because there’s snow or sleet. If you can stand it, investing in some cold-weather supplies can make winter walks and play sessions more tolerable. 

My Samoyeds and I are in Florida now, but we previously lived up north and got through some terrible winters. Besides a good coat, gloves, boots, and other basic dog-walking supplies, these were the purchases I used to get through it:

  • Ice cleats: I added Yaktrax ice cleats to my winter boots. They made it possible to walk my dogs on even the iciest pathways and made me feel more stable and comfortable. 
  • Hand warmers: These little packs from HotHands are amazing. Shake them, then tuck them into your gloves, coat pocket, or shoes. They produce an incredible amount of warmth. (When you’re standing in the yard or at the dog park in the freezing cold, they are a lifesaver). 
  • Fleece balaclava: Even with a good coat and hat, cold winds on your face can be brutal. A fleece balaclava provides excellent coverage and warmth, and it’s still thin, comfortable and easy to breathe in during long walks. You can adjust it to cover the majority of your face or under your chin depending on the weather. 
  • Clip-on lights: It gets so dark so early during the winter. To keep you and your dogs safe, make sure you wear reflective gear and consider adding these lights to your dogs’ collars. They can be charged with a USB cord and clip on to any collar. 

Samoyed dogs and snow are a natural match, but the cold weather can be tough on their owners. If you’re struggling to provide your Sammy with enough exercise, using a few of these dog activities and enrichment ideas can help you get through the winter without freezing outside.