Here’s How to Bark Up the RIGHT Tree on Family Day!

Is there a word that gets your attention every time someone says it? There are probably a few contenders: “Goal!” or “Pizza!” or “Sasquatch!” or…you get the idea.

For dogs, however, one word reigns supreme: “Walkies!”

Man’s best friend gets so fired up about walks that dog owners often have to spell out the word when discussing it. As in, “Hey, are you taking Rover for W-A-L-K-I-E-S?” You’ve got to hand it to dogs: Smack dab in the middle of winter, they still go nuts when walkies are mentioned.

Dog with a scarf in the snow

So take Rover’s lead — and his leash if need be — and make the most of an invigorating family stroll this Family Day. Rover is part of the family, after all, and getting some free and easy outdoor exercise with loved ones is a super-appropriate way to celebrate Feb. 18. Is walking your dog good exercise? Does walking a dog help lose weight? You’re barking up the RIGHT tree on both counts! 

Even better, it’s easy to turn a family walk into family fun with or without a canine companion. Rover provides the enthusiasm, you decide where to go. What kind of free family fun is within walking distance? Here are three awesome options:

A family walking in a national park in the snow

WALK to a local park

Snowball fights (or snowball fetching), building snowmen (or snow dogs), constructing snow forts (or snow dog houses) — it’s all great fun and gets the blood pumping. You can even snap off a few split squats while lifting those snowy blocks into place, or do some lunges while you roll a giant snowball.

No snow? No problem! If there’s a basketball court, play a game of horse. If there’s a parking lot, bring a few sticks and a tennis ball for some road hockey. And does it get any easier than tag or hide and go seek? Pro tip: Rover is amazingly good at hide and go seek.

Two children running up a toboggan hill

WALK to a toboggan hill

Head to the nearest dollar store, grab a couple cheap crazy carpets, and make for the nearest tree-free hill. Climbing up a snowy slope costs nothing, burns more than 400 calories per hour, and builds the largest muscles in your legs. The zany ride down, meanwhile, will get your heart rate up, too. What about Rover? He can help you pull the sled up, and then watch from the top as you race down.

Ice skating rink in the park

WALK to a skating rink

Whether it’s on a well-frozen pond or public rink, lacing up the skates with the brood burns nearly 400 calories an hour. Rover will have to sit on the sidelines, but a round of snowball-fetch before skating will get him primed for a rink-side nap.

After all this outdoor fun, Rover will probably move on to his second-favourite word: “Dinner!” The rest of the crew, meanwhile, will be all over the Championship Chocolate Fudge you just whipped up.

Walkies plus brownies? It’ll do everyone some good — with or without a canine companion — with hoofing it briskly for 30 minutes burning around 250 calories. Sounds like MVP material this Family Day!

Got any other ideas for some free Family Day fun? Go right ahead and share them in the comments below!

About the Author

Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader's Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN.com and DontChangeMuch.ca.

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