Indoor Exercise for Dogs: 8 Great Ways to Stay Active
Do the winter doldrums have your pooch spending their day snoozing on the couch instead of playing and staying active? Cold temperatures and harsh weather conditions are a surefire way to throw a wrench in your dog’s exercise routine, but it’s important to remember that regular exercise is crucial for your furry friend no matter the season.
Just because their outdoor playtime may be off the table, there are still plenty of ways to keep your pup active inside. If you’re struggling to think of fun things to do with your dog during the colder and rainier months, here is a list of indoor exercise ideas for dogs that will keep them up and moving all winter long.
Play Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a great indoor game for dogs to stay active. To play, you can either use a favorite toy or a tasty treat like Bil-Jac Little Jacs Dog Treats. Simply hide your chosen item somewhere in your home while your dog is away in another room. Once you’re ready, let your pup try to find the hidden treat!
If this indoor game is new to your dog, you may have better success with a treat since they can use their keen sense of smell to help guide them. You can also modify the game if you think that hide and seek may be too tough for your pooch. Hide a treat in one of your hands and let your dog figure out which hand has the tasty snack. Over time, you can place the treat farther and farther away to make the game harder. Eventually, you may be able to play hide and seek with your dog throughout the whole house!
Give Your Dog a New Toy
New dog toys are a great way your best friend can stay active even when you’re not available to play. In 2008, researchers from the University of Giessen in Germany and the University of Lincoln in the U.K. found that dogs prefer new toys over familiar ones. A new toy may be the answer to keeping your dog active.
If you notice your dog has lost interest in toys they used to love, it may be time to introduce a new one to the mix. You can also try rotating different toys in and out every few days to help create variety in your dog’s life if you don’t want to buy a new toy every few months.
Play Tug with Rope
If you have ever played a game of tug of war with a dog, you know that they use every muscle in their body to hold on to that rope. Playing this game allows your four-legged friend to activate every part of their body, resulting in a great way to burn off excess energy and keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated.
When you play tug of war with your dog, remember to let them win sometimes and be sure to keep things positive, light, and fun. Games like this tap into your furry friend’s natural instincts, making it a motivational, reinforcing, and high-value indoor exercise.
Schedule a Dog Play Date
One of the best ways to keep your dog active inside is with a play date! Invite a friend’s dog over to have some fun indoors and burn off some steam.
Not only are play dates a great training tool to help your dog socialize and learn how to interact with others, they also offer an easy way to keep your dog occupied inside. If you aren’t sure your dog is ready to meet other dogs, read up on how to socialize your dog so you both can be ready for future meet ups.
Make an Indoor Obstacle Course
The only thing more fun than designing and creating an indoor obstacle course for your dog is watching them actually use it! Indoor agility courses are a fantastic way to help your dog stay active inside. The best part? You can use just about anything you can find around your home that is pet-friendly.
Laundry baskets, cardboard boxes, hula hoops, PVC pipe, play tunnels, and more give your pooch a real challenge. Of course, don’t forget to give your dog a treat at the end to celebrate a job well done.
An exciting game of fetch is one of the best ways to keep your canine companion active, even when stuck inside. To play, grab one of your dog’s favorite toys and toss it across the room. If your space is large enough, your dog will be winded in no time.
Even if you don’t have a large indoor space, you can still use a game of fetch to help your dog exercise. Try throwing the toy down the stairs or from one room to another to keep your dog active and moving.
Teach Your Dog a New Trick
Learning a new trick can keep your dog’s body active during the chilly winter months. Try to teach your dog “How to Wave” or “How to Play Dead.” These training sessions will not only help get their furry legs moving, but learning new tricks also helps stimulate your dog’s mind.
Mental stimulation is just as important for dogs as physical exercise. In fact, a bored dog is more prone to exhibit negative behaviors, so a few trick training sessions a week will not only help your dog stay active, but will also cut down on barking, whining, and destructive behavior.
Show Your Dog Some Love
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your dog is to take a break, slow down, and spend some relaxing time together. Whether you get their tail wagging by massaging their belly or let them snuggle up to you after a long day, your furry friend is sure to enjoy a little extra love from their best pal!
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