Heckin’ Cold: Indoor, Off-Leash Fun for Dogs

Photo: Mink Mingle via Unsplash

With four furbulous seasons, Minnesota breeds a whole lotta outdoor enthusiasts — and their canine companions. From hiking tons of trails to visiting dog parks to skijoring and dogsledding, we can dig up plenty of dog-friendly activities on milder winter days (or for the uber-hardy).

But sometimes we can’t — or won’t — brave the elements. When tossing a ball down the hall just won’t cut it anymore, check out our list of INDOOR, off-leash exercise options to burn off excess energy, socialize your furry friend, and combat cabin fever.

Visit an indoor dog park. They’re the holy grail of winter off-leash fun, and from December through March, two Stone Mountain Pet Lodge locations have an indoor dog park. The Baltimore St. location in Blaine is open Saturdays from 1-4pm and the Brooklyn Park location is open Sundays from 1-4 pm. There are occasional closures for events, so call ahead to confirm availability. $10 per family. (See video below!)

Get wet in a swimmable space. Have a water lover? If don’t mind a bit of a drive down south, The Paw Pet Resort in Mankato offers a variety of indoor swim options: private, public, and party. (See video below!)

Enjoy equipment galore. Okay, this one’s only semi-off-leash: some businesses offer open agility times. For example, Fusion Pet Retreat in Minnetonka has open ring sessions one evening per week (advanced registration recommended).

Join the party, animals. Have a cooped-up pup in need of some stimulation? Snag a ticket to our Small Dog Off-Leash Play Party on 1/14! [Update 1/8: This party is now sold out.] Just 10 bones gets you an hour of playtime at the GORGEOUS Dog Day Getaway. (Small puppers only for this one, but we have some big-dog fun coming up later this winter.)

Join a playgroup. Woofing of Dog Day Getaway,  they host regular playgroups for small dogs and puppies a couple of Sundays each month ($10 per dog). Fresh Air Training’s small-dog playgroups take place a few times per week in Edina ($10 per dog). Dreadlocks for Dingoes and Hippie Dog both host regular puppy playtimes in the winter months.

Or start your own. Dog Day Getaway has a 1,000-square-foot, dog-friendly rentable room, complete with a private entrance and private bathroom. The space is perfect for playgroups and other events (think meet-ups, dog birthday parties, and more). Similarly, facilities can be rented at Twin Cities Obedience Training Club in Minneapolis and The Canine Coach (multiple locations).

And if off-leash leisure isn’t your dog’s scene, we’ve got loads of indoor businesses (like breweries!) that welcome your leashed pup in the winter months.

What are you doing to keep your pups from going stir-crazy during cold snap? Tell us in the comments!

Looking for a unique way to keep your pup warm and stimulated this winter? Our Indoor Brewery Pass gets you FREE beer at 10 dog-friendly taprooms, a total of $20 off at Chuck & Don’s and Lulu & Luigi, and 20% off your staycation at dog-friendly Radisson RED in Minneapolis.

Video: @barrett_and_finley_gsd enjoying a swim at The Paw Pet Resort

Video: @colt.forty5 woofing it up at Stone Mountain Pet Lodge

5 thoughts on “Heckin’ Cold: Indoor, Off-Leash Fun for Dogs

  1. Anie Nelson

    Yay! What a great list. Indoor dog parks are SO necessary for Minnesota winters! I’ve been praying for something like this!!!

  2. Steph homan

    My dog bubbles is a french bulldog who uses a wheelchair to run and play as her back legs do not work. Would i be able to bring her here for small dog playgroup? I hv called 6 or 7 places and no one will accept her because of her disability.

  3. maureen borneman

    I will definitely be checking out these sites for indoor play and romp for a larger dog and also the swim sites.


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