Growing up with two beagles in the Midwest, there were few things more difficult than getting the dogs their proper dose of exercise in the winter. Walks in the snow brought on constant protest. One of our beagles would raise one paw at a time when she started getting too cold, balancing on three legs and then two, until eventually she flopped onto her back and had to be carried home to the fireplace.
One great solution is to visit an indoor dog park. There is usually a charge to enter -- a per-visit fee, a membership fee that covers the season or both. You will also probably need to show your dog's vaccination records.
Here are a few of the indoor dog parks now open around the country (parka and hot chocolate optional).
Fetch Club - New York City
Located near Wall Street in Manhattan, the Fetch Club envisions itself as a full-service pet hotel, animal spa, indoor park and doggie nightclub. Owners can take their dogs in for a variety of grooming services, gourmet snacks or personal training. Access to the indoor park is for members only -- an annual membership includes a set number of visits, with each additional park visit costing $8 and up.
Fido's Indoor Dog Park - Portland, Ore.
Built inside a former warehouse, Fido's is a large-scale park with recycled artificial turf and a doggie pool. Embracing Portland's artsy culture, paintings from local artists hang on the walls and the store stocks local and organic food and toys. It offers boarding for animals and a few perks for humans: free Wi-Fi and a coffee bar. Visitors can buy either a day pass or a membership for more frequent drop-ins.
Little Rascals Dog Park - Washington, D.C., and Rockville, Md.
With two locations in the greater D.C. area, Little Rascals is a large, heated indoor space that offers kennels, grooming and an agility course with a variety of obstacles, so you can teach your dog some new tricks.
Canine to Five - Detroit, Mich.
Primarily a boarding and day care option, Canine to Five also offers access to the same indoor dog park its kenneled pets play in. Though the park isn't open every day, it hosts several events during winter months that allow owners and their pets to gather and socialize in larger groups.
Next: 10 New Ways To Exercise With Your Pet
Zoom Room - Los Angeles and Austin, Texas
This agility-course franchise offers a variety of obedience and agility classes taught by trainers, but folks can also use the indoor dog park facility on their own. After a $5 membership fee (waived for anyone who has taken a class), each visit costs $10, with discounts available. It even offers doggie birthday parties, complete with pup-friendly cakes and cookies.