7 Ways To Exercise Your Dog Indoors
How many of you know the feeling, when it’s cold and grey outside, pouring rain, and you don’t want to leave your home. We have all been there. But in every family, there is always one member that is crazy. They are super excited no matter the weather, they are jumping up and down in glee at the thought of going outside and their tail is wagging away…
This results in giving you two options: traverse the treacherous storm or ignore the poor dog.
But, what if we told you that we have 7 ways to exercise your dog indoors, and still have time to get back into your PJ’s and watch Friends reruns on Netflix?!
The Laundry Hamper
One of the easiest ways to exercise your dog indoors is using the good ol’ laundry hamper and one of their favourites treats. Simply take the plastic laundry hamper, making sure it is empty, and hide the treat underneath it.
This game lets her figure out how to retrieve her treat while keeping her busy and also stimulates her problem-solving skills! If you do not have a laundry hamper, you could use a metal bowl or any other hollowed out round shape.
This way to exercise your dog indoors works best if your dog has a favourite toy. Place your dog in a sit/wait/down position in a separate room of the house. While they wait, take their favourite toy and try to hide it somewhere that they can find it themselves, but not easily.
Some of our favourite examples are behind cushions, atop stairs, and under throw blankets. After their toy has been adequately hidden, it’s play time! Release your dog from the wait, sit back, and watch as your four-legged friend has to use their nose to try and find the toy’s scent.
The benefits of this mental stimulation are the opportunity to zero in on that one specific smell. For some perspective, research suggests that a dog’s nose is 10,000 to all the way up to 100,000 times more acute than ours. In other words, your four-legged friend has to find his/her favourite toy scent out of the thousands of other house-hold lingering smells. Once he/she finds her toy, they will proudly bring it over to you and drop it at your feet. Praise your dog for a job well done!
Stairs & Fetch!
Do you remember back in high school when the coach of the football team would have everyone run stairs for a practice? They did it because it’s a full body workout!
The same principle can be used at home too. If you have a set of stairs, preferably ones that are too big for your dog to jump up, throw a tennis ball or some other soft, scuff-proof toy up them.
Watch as your dog will hustle, giving it 110% up those steps to retrieve that ball and then down those stairs again to bring it to you!
A classic option for all dogs, big and small, is a friendly game of tug-of-war. We suggest using a strong, but pliable woven rope toy. Hard plastic toys are not ideal, as they can damage your dog’s teeth and soft, flimsy toys just won’t hold up. When doing this game, make sure to have a strong grip on the rope, and a solid footing, as dogs don’t know their own strength! If your dog, however, starts to exhibit aggressive behaviour stop the game and try something else.
Recycled Plastic Bottles
One of the most creative ways to exercise your dog indoors is to recycle a large, empty plastic 2L pop bottle. Ensure that there are no labels or wrapping on the outside of the bottle. Your dog will love playing with it! The sounds will help mentally stimulate them, while the lightweight bottle can be tossed up in the air without damaging nearby furniture. Make sure though to supervise your dog when they are using the bottle, in case they start to chew it. We wouldn’t want them to swallow pieces of plastic.
When you can’t get outside, why not take this time to get a dog training checkup? We love these moments for practicing things like waiting, fetch, go to your bed and others. If you don’t want to reinforce old habits, it’s also a perfect time to teach a new trick!
Start small with the shake a paw, roll over, or puppy push-ups, then work your way up to the big leagues. If you need some great resources for training, we highly recommend Cesar Millan’s teachings.
Name That Toy
Have you ever told your dog to get their ball, only to find them carrying something from the garbage? (No? Perhaps just our dog then) One of the best ways to combat this is to teach them the names of their toys.
Start by tossing one of their favourite toys to them and each time saying the name of it. Make sure you don’t name too many or your beloved pup will be confused! After a while, you can tell them to get the toy. BUT make sure to praise them very well with treats for each correct time 🙂