During all the Boxing Week deals after Christmas I went out and bought Kili a FitBark. It's like a Fitbit, but for your dog. It tracks their activity through a monitor on their collar.
|Kili's pink Fitbark|
It breaks activity into 3 broad categories - rest, active, and play - and assigns points for each. It's a fun way to see how much energy your dog is burning, and what they're up to when you're not around. It is interesting, for example, to look at the overnight data and randomly see an hour where she had 15 active minutes. Makes you wonder what she was doing instead of sleeping!
You set your goal to be whatever you want, depending on how active you want to strive for your dog to be. FitBark even tells you how your dog is stacking up compared to other dogs of the same type and even breed.
The FitBark has actually been really helpful in keeping Kili active this winter. It's difficult in Edmonton, not only because of the cold, but also because of the short daylight hours, to stay active through the winter. In the summer we jog, bike, hike, play disc at the park, and practice agility in our backyard; but in the winter we are really restricted to short leash walks and hikes only if weather permits and it isn't a work day (short daylight hours). Having the FitBark has given me a little extra kick in the pants to spend extra time training tricks, playing tug in the basement, and forcing me to go out for those leash walks even when I don't want to. Another thing I did was get a membership at a local doggy daycare that has a treadmill service. I take Kili once or twice a week for a 60 minute session. It's not the same as a good hard run for the same amount of time, but it's better than sitting on the couch! She also seems to enjoy it quite a bit.
Winter can be hard. Don't forget to get you and your four legged friend out to stretch those legs!