Every dog loves to play, run, jump, and engage in exciting activities. This exercise helps them stay energized, increases their life span, and prevents unexpected health and behavioral problems. It also helps them shed weight and avoid obesity.
I mean, who wants an overly obese pet that can’t move or play, or worse, who has behavioral problems? I’m certainly sure that’s not you.
That’s why it’s always advisable to take your furry friend out for some exercise and physical activity they enjoy. But then again, there’s the weather to consider when planning your dog’s outdoor adventure. What do you do when the weather is not ideal for an outdoor physical activity?
Well, you improvise! Here are four fun and effective indoor ideas to keep your furry friend active and content without stepping outside.
Play Hide and Seek
Remember when we were kids, and we would play hide and seek with our friends and sometimes with our parents, then wind up sweaty and panting, gasping for breath after all the excitement and fun? Well, dogs, too, love to play hide and seek, and you can explore this idea to keep your furry friend active.
This game exercise will provide your dog with an indoor workout routine and stimulate their keen sense of smell and problem-solving skills.
So, here’s how to play it with your dog:
- First, identify two to three hiding spots in your home.
- Tell your dog to sit and don’t follow while you hide in one of the spots earlier identified.
- Once you’ve hidden, call out to your dog to find you (they’ll track your voice and smell).
- When your pup locates you, reward him with treats to establish the behavior.
You can repeat this for as long as you want, perhaps until you get exhausted. A hide-and-seek game is the best way to bond with your dog and get them in shape.
Use Your Stairway
The staircase in your home is not merely for transit; it can also serve as a built-in exercise tool for your dog. Playing fetch with your dog on your stairs is a great way to help them burn energy and strengthen their leg muscles.
It’s also the easiest way to exercise your dog without having to exhaust yourself in the process. To implement this idea:
- Start by moving a flexible chair to the bottom of the staircase.
- Sit on it, and throw a toy (like a tennis ball) up to the top of the stairs.
- Tell your dog to fetch the toy and bring it down to you.
- When your dog retrieves it, reward him with a treat and repeat the process.
With enough rounds of this simple gaming exercise, you should have your dog’s tail wiggling and their mood lifted.
However, try to set the game at a pace that suits their fitness levels (know how soon to throw the ball back up or when to wait a bit so they can rest and regain energy).
Mental Exercise with Interactive Puzzle Toys
Exercise for your dog shouldn’t only be about physical activity; even if you have dogs with the least health issues that don’t need too many workout routines to stay active, they’d still need some form of mental exercise.
You can use many interactive toys and puzzles to engage your pup’s mind and provide the mental stimulation they need. These toys come in various shapes and sizes; you can even stuff them with treats or kibble to make them even more enticing.
Some of these puzzle toys are:
- Kong toys: You can fill this toy with peanut butter or treats to keep your dog engaged
- Puzzle feeders: This toy dispenses tiny amounts of treats as your pup interacts with them
- Interactive ball launchers that encourage your dog to chase and retrieve, etc.
No matter the toy you choose, any of these listed puzzle toys will challenge your pup’s problem-solving abilities and keep them engaged for extended periods. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to focus on work or want to keep your dog entertained indoors.
Play Tug of War
Another thrilling indoor activity your dog will surely love is tug of war. This exciting form of physical workout will help engage your pup’s muscles and strengthen their jaw.
Plus, it’s the perfect activity to bond with your furry friend. However, it’s crucial to play it safely to prevent any injuries.
- First, select a sturdy rope or toy explicitly designed for this game.
- Encourage your dog to grasp one end while you hold the other.
- Ensure your dog understands the “drop it” command so that you can control the game.
- Use short, controlled tugs rather than prolonged pulling.
- Gently tug back and forth, allowing your dog to pull as well.
- Let your dog win occasionally to keep them excited and engaged.
While playing this game, do your best to be mindful of how you pull. The last thing you want is to injure your pup’s neck or spine. The goal is to help them stay engaged and exercised, and this is one physical activity that can help you achieve that.
Dogs are the most energetic pets, and with that much energy they possess comes the need to provide them with the right environment to be themselves.
While outdoors may not always be an option, the ideas here should help you create the right indoor environment so they can exercise and be their true selves.