We often hear from dog owners how cute, playful, and lovable dogs are. A loyal companion that overall changed their life for the better. While dogs can be all those things, they do come with some responsibilities to keep them in good shape and health. They are not “toys” that you can just leave unattended or keep hidden.
As with us humans, they require a healthy diet and a good deal of exercise, especially high-energy breeds such as Huskies, German Shepherds, Hound mixes, and many others. When these dog breeds don’t get enough exercise, they may develop behavioral issues, which can lead to frustration that will eventually lead to damage around the house.
In most cases walking your dog or playing active games like fetch with them in your backyard should be enough to provide them the exercise they need. Unfortunately, not every day is a sunny day filled with tennis balls and small blue pools. Whether it’s rainy or just the Winter season, some days we just have to admit that staying indoors is the best thing to do. But it doesn’t mean we can’t be creative and do stuff to keep us occupied. Contrary to some beliefs, there are a lot of things we can do indoors to keep our dogs and ourselves in shape.
So, to help you provide your dog the exercise it needs, we’re here to give you some of the best ways to exercise your dog indoors.
Indoor Activities for Your Dog
It may seem a bit zany, but many professional dog trainers and specialists highly recommend using a dog treadmill to keep your pup happy and fit. They are an excellent workout for cardio and can mitigate boredom by stretching out the legs and getting a few miles in.
For some dog owners, a little patience may be required to train your dog and be familiar and comfortable with the equipment. Start with the lowest speed possible. You can even give them treats while on the treadmill to keep them at ease. If keeping your dog on the treadmill is proving to be a little difficult, you can use a leash to aid them. However, you shouldn’t tie the leash on the treadmill to avoid accidents and should exercise extreme caution. Once your dog is accustomed to using the treadmill, you can adjust its speed as you see fit.
As with all physical activities, make sure your dog is WELL hydrated and never pushed to their limits. Since dogs can’t talk, their humans must be extra observant of their demeanor and give them plenty of care when using treadmills.
Create an Indoor Obstacle Course:
Setting up an obstacle course for you and your dog to play with can be both fun and physically challenging. It’s one of the most convenient ways to exercise your dog indoors. You can start by mapping the whole place out, from your kitchen to your living room, or from the first floor to the second. The best thing about it is that you can use anything from your household that you think would be fun with the obstacle course. Always remember safety first though!
You see a hula-hoop lying around? Use it as a jumping exercise for your dog. Do you have a lot of cushions or blankets you can use? Make tunnels that your dog can run through. Be as creative as you want. It doesn’t have to be complex or intricate, just fun and safe for you and your Super Pup.
Hide and Seek:
Not only is this one fun one on one, but it can be fun for the whole family as well. One of the benefits of hide-and-seek is it keeps your dog mentally sharp as it challenges all their senses.
Start by training your to dog sit and stay while you (or your family) find the perfect hiding spot. Then simply call out to them once and allow them to find you while remaining still. You can hide under blankets, in a closet, in the shower, or anywhere is safe and well hidden.
Your dog then gets to track you down and celebrate finding you. Whether their walking or trotting around it’s a good cardio workout for your dog. Make sure to reward your dog when they find you to keep them interested, happy, and motivated.
Contrary to popular belief, you can play fetch with your dog indoors. Fetching doesn’t require too much space if you get creative. Long hallways are always a great option. As long as there’s a space for your dog to trot, even for just a short distance, it’s still a good exercise.
Fetching has become the common workout for dogs, simply because it is highly effective and doesn’t require much. It’s also fun and builds a bond between you and your pup. Make sure to use objects that won’t damage your home however and beware of sharp corners and other hazards.
Tug of War:
Dogs LOVE playing tug of war. All you have to do is give a dog the end of a rope to bite on and grab the other end, then start tugging. This is one of the simplest forms of exercise for your dog that requires only a rope.
There are, however, some points to consider when playing tug with your dog. Some dogs can get too rowdy or too competitive that could bring out the aggressiveness. While some breeds usually have fun, other high-energy dog breeds tend to hype it up. Make sure not to let rough play get out of hand and be sure to set a good example for your dog by ending play if they get out of hand. Since dogs are pack animals, they respond to your behavior. If you give them the cold shoulder for being aggressive during play, they will learn that behavior is not in line with their pack’s rules.
Obedience and Trick Training:
Tricks such as sitting, rolling over, standing, staying, and other simple or more complex tricks that you can come up with can be a great exercise for your dog, both mentally and physically. Prepare by grabbing a handful of treats then reward successful attempts to keep your dog sharp and interested in every command you give. Eventually, you should be able to reward your dog with praise intermittently and ween them off the treat reward.
Training can be easy for some dog breeds, but for some, it can be quite difficult. Patience and consistency from all humans who interact with the dog are the keys to training, especially stubborn dogs. If you have a dog training facility near your area, it might not be a bad idea to visit and let your dog learn a trick or two.
There is a multitude of puzzle toys for dogs that come in all different shapes and sizes. While some require little to no physical activity, others are designed to get their paws moving. It’s fun for them and could be fun for you as well as seeing them solve the puzzle or simply enjoy playing with it.
Considering the high prices of some puzzle toys you may want to shop around. When picking one out, remember it’s safety and how your dog engages with the toy that matters. Most use food as a reward to keep dogs entertained and moving those paws.
While play wrestling or horsing around may sound like a good way to help your dog burn some calories and blow off some steam, there are much safer options on this list. Play wrestling can lead to injury and may send your dog the wrong message about aggressive behavior being acceptable. If this means of exercise is to be used, it should be done by an adult and they should proceed with caution when play wrestling with your dog. It may be a good exercise, but some dogs can get caught up at the moment. It’s tough not having hands so many dogs use their teeth instead when they get overexcited. Even if it’s play-biting and accidental claw scratching, there’s still a chance of it getting out of hand and injury occurring.
If there are no issues with your dog getting too overly excited, play wrestling can be loads of fun. Make sure you have a good bonding with your dog before doing so, or they might think of it as an aggressive act towards them.
As you may well know, dogs are known for their keen sense of smell, and this activity just proves it to be so. This form of exercise may require training, but it is well worth it. It is one of the best indoor activities to tire out your dog without having to do anything except to give out the command.
It starts by giving your dog a specific scent for them to look for. Depending on where you hid the object around your house, the dog will search every nook and cranny until they find the source of the scent. It’s a good way to keep them busy while being focused on other matters.
We are not talking about an actual indoor swimming pool, but if you have access to one that would work great as well. In fact, we are talking about a common bathtub that small dogs can comfortably swim in. It’s a great workout for your dog, and not to mention, it keeps them clean at the same time. Just make sure you won’t instill hydrophobia to your dog. You should understand that not all dogs are good swimmers as well and that all dogs must be CLOSELY MONITORED 100% of the time they’re in the “indoor pool” or any water for that matter.
Just like the treadmill, swimming dogs must be monitored and given frequent breaks to make sure they are healthy, hydrated, and happy.
Just like kids having playdates, why not organize a playdate with your neighbor, friend, or relative’s dog? It will provide them the exercise and entertainment they are always looking for and help with building positive social behavior around other dogs. Just give them some toys to play around with, relax, and catch up with their human. This form of activity may provide your dog with a couple of hours of clean, fun exercise.
Believe it or not, there are bubbles specially made for dogs to play with. It’s not as messy as it sounds, and it is a great way to entertain your dog. It’s a very simple yet fun activity that you can do indoors. It might require a little training, but it’s not that difficult compared to trick training. Be sure to only use bubbles approved for dogs so they don’t come into contact with any toxic chemicals or detergents.
Drop Them Off to a Nearby Pet Training Facility or Pet Center:
If all else fails or you’re on the go, find out if there’s a pet center nearby that could take your dog in. These pet centers usually have a good deal of equipment that would provide a great workout for pets, especially dogs. It would be a good experience as well for your dog to socialize with other dogs and people. It will keep them busy and entertained for hours on end. Make sure to inform the people who work in the facility about any allergies or other important information they may need to know.
Why Your Dogs Need Exercise
Dogs can become overweight or, worse, obese. In fact, it is becoming one of the most common health issues in today’s dogs. The most common causes are dogs not having the proper exercise they need and not having a healthy diet. What most people don’t know is that an overweight or obese dog doesn’t have the mentality to help themselves. As the humans who love them, we must be the one to start doing something about it if their weight starts to get out of control.
You probably already know this, but dogs with weight problems aren’t as happy as fit and healthy dogs. Not only will it incapacitate your dog physically, but also mentally. Moreover, obesity is associated with a multitude of medical problems that would likely put your dog’s health at risk. These include cardiac health problems, respiratory problems, back problems, and even skin problems.
Weather can sometimes be a reason not to take your dog for a walk, but don’t let it be the reason not to play with your dog. For the sake of your dog’s health, commit a little time off your hands to provide your dog the exercise he/she needs. There are many ways to give them a workout indoors so please be an extra responsible owner by not taking your dog’s health and regular exercise for granted.