Dogs love to play outside, but what do you do when that is not an option? Perhaps the weather has been particularly bad, or the backyard is being re-landscaped, forcing the fun to stay inside. The good news is, as long as you have a decently spacious room to romp around in, there should be no trouble getting enough activity brewing for your pet. Here are a couple of easy exercise tips on the days you and your pup have to play indoors.
Tug-o-War. With this exercise, you need to proceed cautiously, as many pet trainers feel it actually teaches dogs to be obstinate and stubborn. However, it is good practice for strengthening your dog’s jaw and leg muscles, and can be a great way to “warm up” exercises indoors by helping your dog see that things are about to get fun!
Mini-fetch: One of the best ways to get your dog moving is to take his favorite game to play at the park, and move it inside. Get the best ball, chew toy or rubber stick, and play a little game of fetch. Toss the object somewhere safe, where no windows, glass displays, or plants could be knocked over.
If you really want to get your pup’s blood pumping, try riling him up by playing “speed-fetch” where you throw the object as fast as you can, cheering the dog to “go get it” as quick as he can. As soon as he drops the toy, fling it right back so that the dog will go racing off again. If you keep this up for 15-20 minutes the dog will work up quite a sweat!
Hide-and-seek: Anticipation is a great ingredient for indoor playtime! Get your dog’s favorite object, a new chew toy, or a treat-hiding ball. Let him sniff it, and then tell the dog to sit and stay. Wander to a different area in the home and hide the toy some place where he will be able to access it, without the object being visible upon entering the room. Walk back to your dog and say “go get it!” and watch him put that nose to good use. Always hide the toy in a different place, such as between pillows, on a low shelf, behind a desk, etc. The goal here is to keep the pup’s mind engaged and body active!
Indoor walking: Not up for a hugely involving exercise session? Get the leash out and take your pup for a stroll around the house. If you have stairs, 5-8 trips up and down the stairs are great for dogs who aren’t plagued with spinal or joint weakness. This is a great time to hone some of those more basic commands like “sit” “stay” and “heel” while you go around the rooms. Mixing training into the walk will work not only the dog’s body, but his mind as well.