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

With four furbulous seasons, Minnesota breeds a whole lotta outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking tons of trails to visiting dog parks, skijoring, and dogsledding, we can dig plenty of dog-friendly activities on milder winter days.

But sometimes we can’t (or don’t want to) brave the elements. When tossing a ball down the hall just won’t cut it anymore, here are some 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 howl-y grail of winter off-leash fun, and from December through March, Stone Mountain Pet Lodge‘s Blaine and Brooklyn Park locations have indoor dog parks. There are occasional closures for events, so call ahead to confirm availability. (See video below!) There’s also an indoor dog park in St. Cloud that benefits senior rescue pups, and we’ve got TWO NEW INDOOR DOG PARKS in Minneapolis: Unleashed Hounds & Hops is open, and Underdog Park is comin’ soon. It’s about time the *real* it-crowd had its pick of hot spots, are we right?

Get wet in a swimmable space. Have a water lover? Let him give dock diving a try (or brush up on his skills) in The Dog Tank‘s 45-foot indoor pool in Mendota Heights. If you 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!). Unleash those winter beach bods, buddies.

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 (registering in advance is recommended). Or you could get your dog started in agility training. For even more skillz, these unique training classes cover the basics: dog dancing, barn hunting, and dogalates. Why are these dogs more coordinated than we are, tho?

Join a playgroup. There are indoor, off-leash meetups galore all over town. Dog Day Getaway hosts regular playgroups for small dogs and puppies a couple of Sundays each month ($8 for one dog and $5 for each additional dog), and 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. No, your friend won’t come home smelling like pooch-ouli. Probably. NEW: Got an athletic zoomer? Bloomington Obedience Training Club has a flyball team. And for smol dogs (15 pounds or less), Pint Size Pooches hosts frequent meetups.

Or start your own. Dog Day Getaway has an 800-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, you can rent facilities at Twin Cities Obedience Training Club in Minneapolis and The Canine Coach (multiple locations). You know, for Miss Pupularity over there.

Off-leash leisure not your dog’s scene? We’ve got loads of indoor shops, coffee shops, breweries (fetch our Dog-Friendly Indoor Brewery Pass!), and even restaurants that welcome your leashed pup in the winter months. (Sniff out the digs at totally dog-centric The Block, which opened in October!). Cause chill pups deserve a lil toasty fun, too.

Want even more ideas? Here are 37 of ’em.

How do you keep the pups entertained during the winter months? Tell us in the comments!

(Top photo by Cynthia Vh)

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

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

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together!

Fetch our Summer Dog-Friendly Brewery Pass for just $15! Then sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, and join us our Dog-Friendly Twin Cities Facebook Group.

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