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

With four furbulous seasons, Minnesota breeds a whole lotta outdoor enthusiasts — and their canine companions. From hiking tons of trails to visiting dog parks, 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 don’t want to) 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!) There’s also a brand-new indoor dog park in St. Cloud that benefits senior rescue pups.

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!)

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). Our you could get your dog started in agility training.

Join a playgroup. 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). 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 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, 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 shops, coffee shops, and breweries that welcome your leashed pup in the winter months.

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

(Top photo by Mink Mingle)

Next up: Share all of your pup’s adventures with #SidewalkDog for the chance to be featured. Then head to our Dog-Friendly Twin Cities online community for super local, pooch-centric chat with the some of the best people we know – dog people.

And since you clearly love being out and about with your doggo, you NEED our Dog-Friendly Passes! These puppies score ya FREE beer or wine on local patios and inside taprooms. Get your paws on ‘em today. (They make grrr-eat gifts, too!)

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

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


9 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.

  4. Barbara Gallagher

    Don’t forget, the Rosedale mall has indoor dog walking on Sunday mornings from 9-11. They even have a Facebook page.


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