Walking dog in sub zero temps

just_imagineJanuary 6, 2014

This is our dog's first winter and first exposure to snow and really cold temps. It's -8 F right now. The problem we're having is within 5 minutes of his walk he stops and won't go any further. If we put little boots or socks on him he refuses to move. Same thing with a sweater or coat. Just stands there like a statue! He did go out and pee quickly before his feet froze up but pooping is another issue as he needs to walk for 10-15 minutes before doing his business. Any suggestions?

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Bring favorite treats. (For my dog it's string cheese and does not have to be big pieces either.) When your dog stops, in a low gentle voice say, "Nooooo, Fido, let's walk." If you need to use a favorite treat then to get him moving, then do it. If you can get him going with a gentle pull forward, or even sideways and then forward, give him a treat after he goes forward a bit. When you pull forward on a dog it makes them back up, so sometimes a sideways pull and then forward can work. Make it fun, encourage him in a happy voice. Praise him a lot when he goes forward.

What you want to avoid is making him think he's getting a treat for stopping, so give the treat as long after he starts walking again so hopefully he won't connect the stopping being rewarded with a treat.

My dog used to freeze up because he was afraid to walk in a certain neighborhood (school kids, noisy), but now he does it and I have to encourage him a little but he's much better. I'm not a dog trainer, but this is what worked for me.

I don't know what to say about the feet as we have no snow here. Can dogs' feet take the freezing ice? Would I want to walk outside barefoot? (no)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:29PM
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It sounds like he's just too cold if he stops after 5 minutes. What kind of dog do you have? To get him used to the coat/sweater put it on him for short periods while he's in the house. Also, make sure the sweater isn't too tight. I've seen clothes on some dogs and they're so tight the animal looks like it has trouble breathing and walking.
I've never lived in temps that cold, but I will suggest taking him out more often, for 5 min. walks, until he does his business. If he's a small dog I don't think he is capable of staying out in the cold for 10-15 minutes.

Any animal can get so cold that they can't move. I saw my little Jack Russel mix do that once while playing in snow.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:33PM
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Not enough info for a opinion.

What breed or mix of breeds?
What age?
Is there salt in street?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 2:44PM
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Try to make your walks more active. Do some running short distance so his blood is moving and its not as cold.
-8 Is pretty cold but dogs have fur so it should be somewhat ok.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 11:31AM
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I find it odd that dog breed books never seem to give climate and temp info. Such as what range of temps a breeds will prefer or be comfortable in. Some books give a 1-4 range of coats, but that seems to be for how much care/cleaning up is required, rather than how much cold the breed can stand.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 4:04PM
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