By Meghan Marx

Just because it is winter doesn’t mean you and Fido can’t find some fun. Check out our five favorite ways to get out and get active with man’s best friend this winter.

(credit: PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Training, class times and fees vary

Agility training is a fun way to exercise your pent-up pooch. Obstacle courses include: hurdles, tunnels, balance beams, and more! It is a great way to build upon a dog’s physical fitness and confidence. Agility training is open to all capable pups that can run the course in a safe manner. Classes are held year round. Come to play or to learn to compete in the sport. It’s a great way to socialize as well.

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Open 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Classes run 2-3 hours
Fee: $95 per dog and 1 owner

Skijoring, offered at Outdoor Adventures, is a Scandinavian winter activity where dog and owner can take to the trails together. Think of it as a hybrid of dog sledding and cross-country skiing. The skier is attached to their dog with a belt and towline. It’s always best to take a class before attempting on your own. Courses are offered all year for any dog over 35 pounds. Even shorthaired dogs such as greyhounds enjoy the sport, just be sure to dress them appropriately. Skiers should have intermediate abilities, or can start walking and advance to skis. Check out Outdoor Adventure’s “Geehaw Jaunt” January 22, 2012 to see what it’s all about. If you’re heading to a park on your own, make sure dogs are permitted and use the un-groomed trails.

(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Room rates +$20/night or $40/stay

Sometimes a weekend getaway is good for the whole family, including the four-legged loved ones. Pet friendly accommodations are becoming easier to find. At Caribou Highlands Lodge pets are welcome to stay in a variety of rooms (just call ahead for availability) and can take part in a variety of activities including: hiking up to the Poplar River, exploring local State Parks, swimming at the inland lake or Grand Marais Harbor in the summer, or trying a hand – or a paw – at ski-jor-ing in the winter! Pets must be accompanied at all times.

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Dog Therapy Prep Class $159.00/4 week

Is your dog well behaved and loves to be loved? Volunteer with your pup! Pals on Paws is a Minnesota chapter of Therapy Dogs International, Inc., a group dedicated to visiting local hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other facilities. Pets can aid people by just being there to improve mood and promote socialization. Training is required for both pet and owner before volunteering their time. What better gift to give than to share the unconditional love of your pet this winter?

(credit: Melissa Jaskela)

Twin Cities Doggy Play Date Group
Date & Locations are always changing
Reviews, Directions & More Info

Play-dates aren’t just for kids anymore! Meet-up groups are popping up all over to socialize both dog and owner. Go online to see what groups are meeting up and where. Anyone is invited to join at locations all over the city. Or, if you have the space and a pet-proof home, consider inviting a couple of friends over with their pets for a themed winter party or a casual gathering.

Meghan Marx was born and raised in the mid-west, where outdoor activity is her second nature. Meghan is a graphics artist, college professor and web designer, follow Meg at @designingmarx.