Training Outside in Winter

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by pattymac, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. pattymac New Member

    Just wondering what those people who live in areas where it gets cold in the winter do for handing out treats when working outside, say even just working on getting a nice loose leash walk and when working on on leash dog aggression. Usually I wear pretty heavy wool or ski mitts, my fingers get really cold in gloves. Needless to say getting my hands in my pockets or even a treat bag fast enough is pretty tricky in -10 or -15 weather. I've been wondering about treat tubes. We're not usually out in that cold long enough to worry about the liquid treat freezing!! If it's that cold, we're doing tricks in the kitchen! :dogbiggrin:

  2. stormi Well-Known Member

    We dont get -10 to -15 here, but it still gets cold. With gloves on it can be hard to get treats out of containers/pockets, etc.

    The way I usually get over this is: I hold the treat ready in my right hand and put them across into my left to feed. I also sometimes put the treat pot somewhere with the lid slightly open so I can run to the pot and get a treat for them when I want to reward.

    Does your dog find play rewarding? Apart from being easier with coats and gloves on it can help keep you and your dog warm.

    Hope you find something that works for you :dogsmile:
  3. snooks Experienced Member

    I use cheese sticks but open them before I leave the house. It's pretty easy to bite off a piece and spit it if you train your dog to catch it in the air. Also food tubes (like cake icing tubes) with food processed meats with broth, yams, apple sauce, cream cheese, and liver pate or mixtures are easy. You just unscrew the top and squeeze the tube. The ones I like were on and came with recipes, human style hiking goo tubes can work. The pet expertise ones are dishwasher safe.

    Just process to dip consistency that wouldn't break your chips and it should work. Add more broth if needed. Can cheese also works well without too much mess or cold wet fingers & gloves. :dogtongue2:
  4. szecsuani Experienced Member

    It's about an average of -20 degrees here now, and I still go to 2 hour long walks every day, and do everything like in the summer.
    I just do a little more "warm-up", with Pami, a little running before the jumps or something like that.
    I only have gloves that don't have a finger (I don't know if it has an English name), and I have the treats inside my pocket. :D
  5. snooks Experienced Member

    I do have the ski mittens that the mitten part pulls off but stays attached like a hood to leave fingerless gloves beneath. Mittens are warmer. The other nice thing is a coat with the one across kangaroo pocket hand warmer. Even if you get wet hands I put them back in the bag of chicken or in the roo pocket with the treats in a baggie. Keeping the wind off does the trick and my clothes stay clean.

    A hands free leash for a trained dog is very nice but I bungee it on ice and wear stabilicers on my shoes so I don't accidently skid on ice with hands in pockets. ow!

    I like the one fingerless glove idea, esp with dried treats like yummy jerky which are in all of my coat pockets somewhere. I need to find warmer gloves, ski gloves or mittens seem to be very wind/water proof and compact.
  6. welshherder New Member

    We have those temps the -20 to -30 F. and thats before the windchill, last week we had -55 windchills with the temps. Those days we stay in and do tricks or work on our plank or weave work for agility. However, when we do go outside for walks or to train I usually use toys instead of treats during the winter. Like you said it is too cold to have your fingers bare and I find I am not fast enough with the reward even if I click or use a verbal marker to mark the behaviour. I have used thin gloves when it is much more mild, but found fingers get cold as often they get wet from a certain tongue taking the treats. My dog isn't really interested in treats when we are outside anyway. We have been doing LLW with the reward being to continue on the walk. If she starts to go ahead of me we do penalty yards and if she runs to the end of the leash so it is tight we turn around and go the other way. Could you use a ball to toss or does your dog tug. Those too will take longer to reward with, but you can keep your mits on. If your dog is not toy motivated you can take an old sock and put food in it and tie a knot in it. Put something really smelly and nummy. Then play with it with your dog in the house until it becomes irrestible. You can then put a ball in the sock with the food and slowly change the sock to a toy etc. Good luck and stay warm!
  7. yvonne Well-Known Member

    The early mornings here in England are really cold. Today there was a really heavy frost.

    I am used to the cold and luckily it is only my fingers that freeze (ouch!) I tend to wear fingerless gloves to dish out the treats. I have tried full gloves but for some reason my fingers get even colder. I prefer mittens really but they are way too fiddly, and as Dude is only a puppy I like to get in with a treat as soon as I get the desired behaviour.
  8. snooks Experienced Member

    Hats off to you guys (not literally) who are walking dogs in such bursky weather. I'm sure your dogs love you for it. The closest we get to that is -19F but not very often.

    I forgot to add too that treat pockets work well for cold weather and usually a dryer treat like jerky. I used these in agility. You Velcro open the pouch and let them eat from the pouch. Many are attached to straps for tugging or retrieval training. That way you hold the pouch and it gets wet (not too much) instead of your fingers. You may have to hold it shut a little so your dog doesn't empty it but you can do that gloved or mittened. I sewed some extra big pull tabs on my Velcro pocket so I can open it with gloves. They do make some with zippers to which you can attach a long pull for gloved unzip. There are also rubber dispensing dry treat tubes which when squeezed by a human hand in a glove will open. A dog can't really open and tip them himself.

    If you're even slightly handy you can make pockets out of old jeans like I did. I'm pretty bad at sewing but I could do this after seeing one. I used the legs b/c they were already seamed on two sides, added Velcro, pulls, and a loop handle. Just other ideas for you frosty walkers.

    neat treat pockets and training gear at

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