Just like you, your dog needs exercise. Without the right amount of exercise, your dog can become destructive due to pent-up energy. Not to mention that a lack of daily exercise puts your dog at risk of health problems from obesity.
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However, sometimes a walk just isn't something you can do during the day. Maybe the weather is especially terrible, or maybe you've already walked them and your pup needs some more exercise because they are a very active breed. Here are six ways to keep exercise interesting for your dog, so they can work out outside of their daily walk.
1. Play games
There's nothing like a good game to not only exercise your pup, but also to have a little you and doggo bonding time. If you have space in your house, you can go as far as playing an indoor game of fetch. Otherwise, outdoor catch is a great alternative in your backyard or at a dog-friendly park.
If space is scarce, a good old-fashioned game of tug-of-war with their favorite toy is still a good way to get physical activity. Alternatively, a fun game to play indoors is hide and seek, where you hide yourself or you hide treats and your dog goes in search of you (or the treats). If you have stairs, a good game to play is standing at the top of the stairs with their favorite toy or a frisbee, tossing the toy and when they go to fetch it, call them back to you. After a few throws, your dog will definitely be feeling the burn. Just make sure to only do this with healthy and fairly coordinated dogs. If they aren't comfortable going up or down stairs, this game could lead to falls and injuries.
2. Puppy pools
This is a great way to exercise your dog, especially if it's hot! If a dog-friendly beach or a private swimming pool isn't available, there are dog pools where you can pay for time to help your dog get their swim time on! This is also a good exercise routine resource if you have a dog who is uncomfortable with swimming, because there are usually trainers at these facilities to help your dog feel comfortable mastering the doggy paddle.
If a pool deep enough for swimming is not available around you, even just a baby pool filled up with water is great as it allows your pup to splash around in it. This is still good exercise and plenty of fun for your dog, as long as you have the yard space for a baby pool.
3. Teach them some new tricks
Not only does teaching your dog some new tricks help them work out some of their energy, but it's fun and helpful for your dog's learning! This can be a good way to bond with your dog, especially with herding breeds, and allows them to let off some steam and get positive feedback.
Begin with the basics. If your dog has not mastered their "sit", "down," and "come," work on those first. If they have mastered those tricks, you can start teaching them tricks like "roll over," "high five," "spin around," or "speak." A next-level trick to learn is to teach them to jump through a hula hoop.
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4. Dog parks/ dog daycare
If you really need your dog to get some regular exercise and they are good with other dogs, the dog park is an excellent way to let your dog work out. They might even make some new friends at the same time! Make sure to bring a toy or ball, and if there isn't water readily available at the park, a bottle of water and a bowl so your dog can stay hydrated.
If it's a dog daycare facility, you can ask what they will provide your dog ahead of time (snacks, food, toys). Doggy daycares are great because trainers and caretakers will help keep your dog well-trained and familiar with other humans giving them commands. We just suggest you provide a blanket or something with your scent on it so your pooch doesn't get homesick if you leave them there for a while.
5. Doggie playdates
If a lot of other active dogs are overwhelming for your pup but you're friends with other dog owners who have dogs your dog likes, arrange a playdate! Bring your dog to them, or have their dog come over to your place. The two can wrestle and play until they tire themselves out, which allows you and your dog's friend to get their daily exercise. It's just very important that the dogs have met before and that you know they get along before you arrange a playdate.
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6. Dog treadmills
Believe it or not, there are treadmills just for dogs! This is a great way to provide exercise for dogs that can allow you to walk your dog indoors if the weather is just too cold, or if they need more walks than you can give them. Just make sure to get them comfortable on the treadmill and give your dog treats so he stays on the treadmill. You can use a leash to help direct the pup where to go, but you should never tie their leash to the treadmill in case they stop or try to get off.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with long walks, but there are other ways to work in your dog's exercise needs. These are just a few fun ways to make sure that your dog stays in good shape and feeling happy! Figure out what amount of exercise is best for your dog depending on their age, breed, and personality and provide some low-impact options for what they enjoy.
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Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.