37 Furrific Ways to Make Winter Fly By

Mid-winter in the North: the time of year when we don’t know what’s sagging more — our spirits or our dog’s bored-looking jowls. It’d be easy for pups and people alike to sigh the rest of the winter away, so here’s a little pep talk, Sidewalk Dog style: Before you know it we’ll be back to basking in all the best things life has to offer: we’re talkin’ patio parties, road trips, drive-ins, and more. Until then, dear SWDers, you’re about to find out 37 things you can do to thrive — not just survive — ’til spring:

1. Teach your old (or young) dog a new trick. Try going beyond the basics: how ’bout a hug?

Photo: @zoey_in_minnesota on Instagram via #MyDogisaSidewalkDog

Photo by @zoey_in_minnesota on Instagram

2. Treat your pup to a new toy. Most pet shops allow four-legged visitors, so you can let them pick it out themselves.

3. When that new toy becomes old news, organize a toy swap. Gather up the gear that still has some chew-life in it and trade with a friend whose pup is in the same boat.

4. Sign up for a class. The next local agility star might be right under your roof — you’ll never know unless you try!

5. Bundle up and visit a dog park, or give skijoring a try together.

6. Follow that up with a self-service dog wash. Because slush.

7. Cozy up at a dog-friendly coffee shop. Here are a few in MinneapolisChicago, Denver, and Seattle.

8. Bake healthy treats for your pup. Let them lick the spoon.

9. Pick an org and sign up to foster.

10. Can’t foster? Volunteer for a local rescue or shelter in another way: home visits, puppy socialization, or blanket-making to name a few.

11. Play a game of fetch up and down your stairs. It’s the quickest way we know to burn energy indoors. Just make sure your pup (and carpet) are up to the task.

12. The second-quickest way: a chase-it wand. (It’s Maggie’s fave!)

13. Improvise an obstacle course for some DIY indoor agility.

14. Watch a movie with your pup, preferably a flick featuring a doggy actor.

15. Start an Instagram account for your dog. Follow other pawesome dog Instagram accounts. Here are a few of our faves in Chicago, Denver, Seattle, and the Twin Cities.

16. Then, use #SidewalkDog to be featured on our Instagram page!


Photo: Karin Newstrom/Instagram @monster_babies)

17. Play “find it”: hide small pieces of treats around your house and watch your pup’s nose go nuts. There are endless variations of this game — get creative!

18. Set up a play date between your pup and their doggy friend(s).

19. Even if you’re not generally a winter walker, seeing your neighborhood in a different season can be an unexpected delight. For extra magic, head out after a fresh coat of snow. (Safety first!)

20. Delight your dog with a day of daycare.

21. Get your pup ready for patio season by brushing up on basic training. Your pup will be ready to mind their manners.

22. Visit a bookstore with your dog. (Sniff one out in our dog-friendly directory.)

23. Then snuggle with them on the sofa while you read (or re-read) a fave dog book.

24. After all that lounging, you’ll probably want to make a plan to get your pup bikini ready. (Doga, anyone?)

25. If your pup isn’t the only one who put on a couple of pounds this winter, a game of tug can be a great workout for dog and hooman alike.

26. Write the story of you and your four-legged BFF. (And consider sharing it with us!)

27. Take up a new sport.

28. Make your water lover wag with an indoor swim.

29. Some nights should be warm enough to bundle up for a game of fetch, but the sun is still setting pretty early. The solution? Glow-in-the-dark fetch.

30. Play hide and seek in the house. You hide, they seek. (Better yet: teach your human kids to play this one with Fido. Two stir-crazy creatures, one stone!)

31. Sign them up for a play group.

32. Take your pup on a shopping spree: a human clothing store, then a pet boutique, heck, maybe even a dog-friendly mall.

33. Once you’re sporting the new duds, take some selfies together (and then tag ’em #SidewalkDog so we can appreciate the cuteness).

34. Plan a vacation or staycation at a dog-friendly hotel. (Psst: Here are a few in Chicago that absolutely ruv the puppers.)

35. Visit a dog-friendly liquor store (we know of dozens!).

36. Then, make one of these delicious dog-themed cocktails.

37. Settle into your favorite cozy spot with your pup and soak up the last of the winter snuggle season, cuz it won’t last forever. We promise!

Final thought: be careful what you wish for. Remember spring poop patrol? We’re SO not ready for that.

(Top photo by @endeavorsofego)

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