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Leeroy is our rescue spoo that we adopted a week ago, he's 14 months round about. My husband, kids and I (plus 2 indoor cats) live in the middle of Alaska. Winter here is 9 months out of the year, averaging -10F and getting as low as -40F on the coldest nights. Lots of snow, too.

Our house is small, 2 bedrooms and no stairs. We do have a yard. We do plan on getting him a winter vest and boots for walks so his feet don't get hurt.

I'm still 100% new to having a dog in a snowy place. I am not sure how or when we'll walk him, what the limits would be, or how to keep him happy enough indoors that he doesn't eat our belongings or hurt the cats.

We are home almost all of the time (with the exception of my husband who works a typical 9-5). Even my kids are home all day as we homeschool. We tend to be pretty relaxed, the kids draw or use their tablets. My son is autistic so he has meltdowns once in a while. But Leeroy seems to generally love curling up on his blanket or on our feet almost the entire time we're indoors. Also both of our kids adore animals and are super loving and gentle toward him.

I'm still a little nervous though. Not sure how to balance things here in the Arctic circle for our pup.

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Brain work will be your friend, I think. My dogs favourite wet weather game is Hunt the Treat: start by placing a treat where he can see it, and release him to find it. Then let him see you put one behind an object, and release him to find that. Build up to him waiting behind a door while you scatter half a dozen treats around the room and then let him find them. Training games, trick training, hide and seek, calling from opposite ends of the house, learning the names of different toys and fetching them on cue - lots of possibilities!

If you have the sort of snow that balls it would be worth considering a snow suit for him. We usually have very mild winters, but when we do get snow it cakes in poodle fur until Poppy can't walk. Are any of the places you go to in the winter dog friendly? I imagine exercise must be an issue for all dog owners in your area, and they will have found solutions - I would ask around and see if there are covered areas available for running and playing. A playdate with a group of compatible dogs a couple of times a week, perhaps.
 

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I am in northern Canada, winters are long and averaging -30C to -40C daily. My mini still goes outside to just pee/ poo in these temps, it’s a quick business. When the snow starts falling, it’s wet and sticky, so I have a snowsuit for him to avoid snowballs on his hair.

My cut off for a walk is -25C and not windy. I have boots for him. We do tons of brain games during winter. I don’t have special balm for nose,etc for winter.

You will notice that your poodle will adjust. The fact that you are home and he is not crated is great!
 

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Don’t worry about your dog being cold in winter. Just keep the coat longer.

Both my toys (6 pounds) go through the Canadian winter (4-6 feet of snow, -40C) without a coat or boots. I don’t walk them in winter, they don’t like it. Too cold and the salt hurts their paws.

They’ll go outside to do their business and come right back inside.

As for entertaining, flirt pole is number 1 here. Also treat balls. And chewing.
 

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Train him for potty on command so the outings can be short.

Remember there have been all poodle Iditarod teams so spoos are pretty hearty. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/03/17/once-upon-a-time-poodles-raced-in-the-iditarod-they-werent-half-bad/?utm_term=.01357112213a Mine actually really like playing in snow.

For times when the weather is too bad for anything other than brief potty breaks brain games (training for obedience/teaching tricks) will be your best friend. Brain work actually is more fatiguing than walking/running aimlessly.
 
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My tpoo years ago loved to go out to play in the snow when the kids were little. No snow boots and a very light weight stretchy baby's sleeper that I used as a snow suit.

You definitely need a snow suit - snow will stick to their hair and slightly melt as it's near their body and turn into snow balls stuck in their hair. These snow balls are miserable to remove when you come back inside the house. You will want to cover all that hair so when Leeroy comes back inside, you just remove the snow suit and leave the snow outside. The snow suit is more about protecting the hair from getting wet than keeping the dog warm, although it could do both.

I echo the brain games. You'd be amazed at how tiring training can be for a dog and you end up with a well trained dog in the process.

Poodles are sensitive and smart so be careful not to use harsh training methods.
 

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I'm in Minnesota, it can get -30F here. We walk outside all winter, no coat (Zephyr, not me!). I didn't use boots last winter because I could not find any that would stay on, but I think I have some that will work for this winter. I use them if Zephyr's feet are freshly shaved or if we are going to be on the roads at all because of salt. Otherwise he didn't have any problems without them last winter, and we sometimes walk for 3-4 miles in very cold weather and deep snow.

An indoor game we play is to have Zephyr wait in one room and I show him a toy (so that he knows what he is looking for) and hide it somewhere in the house and then release him to find it. You have to build up from letting him see you hide it to hiding it in really easy places to hiding it in harder places. I always walk all around the whole house when I am hiding it so that he doesn't know which room it is in. I don't use treats because he is not at all food motivated and wouldn't bother to look for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I absolutely love all of these ideas! Thank you!

The good news is we do have an old dairy farm that was turned bird sanctuary down the street from our house, as well as a slough nearby. The bird sanctuary especially has groomed and ploughed trails since skijoring people go through there with their dogs. My husband could easily drive us there and then we could walk around a bit. Lots of fun smells and sights there.

I do make sure to not make our walks about 'walks', I make it fun. I talk gently to help him gain his confidence back and I let him slowly get used to the sounds around here. Other, cars, people, planes. He loves the smells too. I always praise him and give him a treat when we come home. I also use the walks for teaching him down, come, leave it, and having him sit and wait patiently at the door as we open it to go back inside. He's learning so fast.

I am definitely being gentle with him. He hasn't submissive peed at all since Sunday morning. I am so proud of him. He even comes to my husband as he's leaving for work (the first few times he wouldn't, or he would cower and pee). And he's used the yard twice already to go to the bathroom (no poo yet, he still only does that on a walk so far). The first time he went because he badly needed to, this morning I took him out and walked into the grass and said 'go potty'.. took him a minute but he finally sniffed around and went, and I praised him.

We did order him a stuffed log toy with holes that you hide Chipmunks in. And when I get paid I'm going to buy him a snuffle mat to hide mini treats in. We've been teaching him the names of his toys by lifting them and saying their name or saying their name as we hand them to him. He gets over excited and a little confused when we do that right now... I think he's worried we're just taking his toys. It's cute.

Oh and when he's a little bored and I can't get him to play with his toys I pick up one of his chew ones and pretend to nibble on it in a playful way. He bats his paws at me and takes it back and then chews it for a while.

He's definitely a lovey boy. We're getting into a schedule, slowly but surely!

Oh... I do notice he gets most restless when we leave the room (he follows us like a toddler with his ears up wondering where we're going), and happiest when I sit in a chair where he can snuggle at my feet, or if we snuggle with him on the floor.

Thanks again so much for the help! I'll be sure to ask locally as well as far as temperatures and snow suits and boots.

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh I meant to add that he has a rope toy he loves to chew, two flavored chew toys in different shapes, a ball (he doesn't fetch yet but he loves to chew on it and have us roll it back when it rolls away), two squeaky toys, a stuffed animal he carries around, and a warm blanket he rests on. Though he enjoys stealing any pillows on the floor lol!

Anyway I'm making sure that his toys are varied in shapes, textures, and activities so he doesn't get bored. I love our sweet boy.

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He sounds like a lovely boy and you are doing a wonderful job with him and with gaining his trust.

Youtube, especially kikopup, has great videos which might help you pass yhe time with him during cold weather.

I grew up in Minnesota with little beagles and we played lots of inside games when it was too cold outside to play. We did not have many options for cold weather doggie apparel back then either. Sounds like you are already making great strides with this boy! Have fun!
 

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Thank you so much! I'll go check that channel out. And thanks for the encouragement.

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I'm in Minnesota, it can get -30F here. We walk outside all winter, no coat (Zephyr, not me!). I didn't use boots last winter because I could not find any that would stay on, but I think I have some that will work for this winter. I use them if Zephyr's feet are freshly shaved or if we are going to be on the roads at all because of salt. Otherwise he didn't have any problems without them last winter, and we sometimes walk for 3-4 miles in very cold weather and deep snow.

An indoor game we play is to have Zephyr wait in one room and I show him a toy (so that he knows what he is looking for) and hide it somewhere in the house and then release him to find it. You have to build up from letting him see you hide it to hiding it in really easy places to hiding it in harder places. I always walk all around the whole house when I am hiding it so that he doesn't know which room it is in. I don't use treats because he is not at all food motivated and wouldn't bother to look for them.
I'm with Reraven here. We live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, tons of snow and long cold winters. We have sled dog races that are qualifiers for the Iditarod races in Alaska, so our conditions are very similar. (Hey, thanks Lily CD for the link - I had not realized there were Standard Poodle Iditarod teams:)

None of the spoos up here wear any type of jackets or snowsuits. (Only the toy poodles do). And booties may seem like a nice idea but are expensive and so many get lost in the snow! We only use them if he is going to be running on a groomed trail, or anywhere there is salt or snowmelt, which is terrible on their feet, and even worse when they lick it. Much of it is actually toxic. We have a wonderful off leash area that doesn't have any salted walkways and he joyfully runs and plays.

He has only had problems with his feet when they have just been shaved, or it is sharp ice, or the kind of snow that clumps into hard balls. If there are clumps between his paws he comes to me to take them out.

When he comes in the house sometimes he looks hilarious as he will have icicles on his beard, or clumps hanging off of various parts. They melt in minutes, no need to worry about getting them out of their hair.

And he absolutely loves the snow and running and romping in it. Yours will most likely love it too:)
 

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I'm with Reraven here. We live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, tons of snow and long cold winters. We have sled dog races that are qualifiers for the Iditarod races in Alaska, so our conditions are very similar. (Hey, thanks Lily CD for the link - I had not realized there were Standard Poodle Iditarod teams:)

None of the spoos up here wear any type of jackets or snowsuits. (Only the toy poodles do). And booties may seem like a nice idea but are expensive and so many get lost in the snow! We only use them if he is going to be running on a groomed trail, or anywhere there is salt or snowmelt, which is terrible on their feet, and even worse when they lick it. Much of it is actually toxic. We have a wonderful off leash area that doesn't have any salted walkways and he joyfully runs and plays.

He has only had problems with his feet when they have just been shaved, or it is sharp ice, or the kind of snow that clumps into hard balls. If there are clumps between his paws he comes to me to take them out.

When he comes in the house sometimes he looks hilarious as he will have icicles on his beard, or clumps hanging off of various parts. They melt in minutes, no need to worry about getting them out of their hair.

And he absolutely loves the snow and running and romping in it. Yours will most likely love it too:)
Oh I'm sure he will! When I was very little we had a shih tzu that loved running in the snow up here. He'd have marshmallow balls of snow all wadded up on him but he loved running around in it.

Do you walk your dogs much when it's -25f or more? The city shaves the streets down here and it gets really slick. We do have a yard though and the local old dairy farm that has groomed paths for dogs and whatnot. He'll have tons of snow to romp through. We get snow from October through April or so, or longer... Winter is 9 months. It doesn't fully melt until the start of June most years. And we get only about 4 hours of actual daylight... Or just one long sunrise/sunset lol!

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Obviously if it is that cold we go out for shorter periods. The worst is when it is windy. I hate the windchill more than the cold.

I would avoid the shaved streets as they probably also have a combo of dirt and chemicals - maybe - like we do here? Terrible on their feet.

Does the old dairy farm keep salt and chemicals off of it's trails? Good you have a yard:)

If it is snowing it has to be warmer than -25!
"Most heavy snowfalls happen with relatively warm air temperatures near the ground -- usually at 15 degrees F or above. When the temperature drops into the single digits, or below zero, heavy snow is unlikely. That's not because it's too cold, but because its too dry." https://www.accuweather.com/en/features/trend/too-cold-to-snow/6953983

I love walking in the snow, and so does my spoo - except he usually runs and jumps:)

Best would be if you ask some local people with dogs :)
 

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Oh and kontiki what I meant by snow for 9 months is we get really deep snow, about 6 feet or so, and then it doesn't completely until June at the latest due to the severe temperatures. Where I live we're just shy of the Arctic circle.

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