Indoor exercise options for your cooped up pooch
It's going to be another cold weekend, and a tough one to get Fido to burn off excess energy outdoors. So if you think it's too cold to exercise your dog outside, here are some options to release that pent-up energy — indoors.
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul has taken mercy on dog exercisers, and opened up their gym for some weekend and holiday hours in January, with free coffee for the two-legged and water for the four-legged. There are some separate times for small dogs. They ask for an optional donation of $5 an hour to cover coffee and maintenance, but their site says, "If you can't contribute, you're still 100% welcome." They plan to donate half of what they collect to a local animal rescue group.
Rosedale Center is open for mall walkers with dogs on Sundays 9-11 a.m. through February. You can only come in certain entrances and dogs must be leashed. Find all the rules here. Walking either level, including the wings, is 3/4 mile.
Some of the doggy daycares have times to let your pooch play, although most are for smaller dogs.
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Dog Day Getaway in Apple Valley has play groups for small dogs and puppies about every other weekend. You need to preregister (by phone, email or online), and it costs $8 for the first dog, $5 for the second. No more than two people per dog. Check the schedule here.
Fresh Air Training hosts "pint-sized play" at two locations in Edina for dogs under 20 lbs., but they make an exception for bigger dogs scared of all dogs. They recommend you fill out a questionnaire before you arrive and you'll need to provide proof of vaccinations. $10 per session. Find the times and locations here.
Stone Mountain Pet Lodge has a supervised dog park for any size dog most Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. in Jan. and Feb. at their Blaine location. You need to preregister, and it's $10. They also have puppy playtimes on Mondays.
If you just want to get out of the house with your dog and don't care about exercise, Sidewalk Dog Twin Cities has a list of dog-friendly indoor spots.