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Finding ways to exercise your dog inside can be difficult.
Physical exercise is a must for dogs, but what happens when there is a storm outside, when it is too hot to spend time outside or if everyone in the household is sick? Not exercising your dog is not an option.
Lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, frustration, unwanted behaviors due to boredom, and more.
So, what is the solution? We are going to have a look at a few of the ways you can exercise your dog indoors.
Please note that indoor exercise cannot replace outdoor exercise in the long run, as the outside world provides additional stimulation, such as exciting new smells and socialization.
Indoor activities can, however, serve as a temporary substitute or be paired with outdoor exercise.
5 Tips for Exercising Your Dog Inside
When thinking of ways to exercise your dog inside, consider what things your dog likes to do.
What types of games do they enjoy, and are there any physical limitations you should consider before getting started?
Dogs with bone and joint disease shouldn’t run up and down stairs, and young puppies shouldn’t jump obstacles for hours at an end.
The better you know your dog, the easier it’ll be to find the ideal activity.
Run on the Treadmill
If you have a treadmill, consider teaching your dog to walk and eventually run on it!
This is not something you can teach overnight.
It takes patience and dedication but could save you days when you can’t spend time outside with your dog.
Use positive reinforcement to help your dog love the treadmill, so it doesn’t end up feeling like punishment.
Indoor Fetch with a Soft Ball
Playing fetch inside is a possibility, but it comes down to the available space and the size of your dog.
If you have a hallway or a big room, you might be able to give your pup a run for its money without having to leave the house.
You should buy a softer ball for indoor play to avoid knocking over anything valuable.
Avoid playing fetch on hard surfaces like tile, laminate, or hardwood, as insufficient traction elevates the risk of injury.
Tug of War with a Sturdy Toy
Tug of War is an activity many dogs love, and one of its benefits is that you can play anywhere!
If you have a young puppy that doesn’t seem to grasp this game’s concept, don’t worry.
It can take some time!
Once they figure out they’re supposed to hold on to the other end of the toy, you’ve got a game that can last for hours!
Use a stuffed animal, a rope toy, or another sturdy toy.
Flirt Pole Fun
This game is associated with cats, but active dogs also love a flirt pole!
It can help your dog improve motor skills and provide a fun activity requiring little space.
It can also be extremely tiring, so don’t overdo it. Flirt sticks are unsuitable for dogs with joint pain, and just like indoor fetch—avoid hard and slippery floors.
Indoor Agility Course
If you have the space for it or your dog is on the smaller side, why not set up an agility course inside your home?
You can purchase an indoor agility kit or use items in the house to provide a challenging set of obstacles.
Then, all you need to do is teach your dog how to run it.
Positive reinforcement training should be prioritized to keep the game fun and safe.
Indoor Brain Exercises For Your Dog
On days when you can’t go outside, for whatever reason, mental stimulation can help save your dog from boredom.
Yes, physical exercise is extremely important, and dogs should get a chance to stretch their muscles every day.
However, canine enrichment games that activate the dog’s brain are just as important, and if you’re stuck inside, use this to your advantage.
Canine enrichment toys and games are also great if your dog is injured or recovering from surgery, as this might stop your best fur friend from safely participating in physical activities.
While brain games can’t replace physical exercise and vice versa, you can substitute one for the other should the occasional situation arise.
Here are examples of mental exercise toys for dogs:
- Kibble Dispensers
- Treat Puzzles
- Snuffle Mats
- Kong Toys and Other Stuffable Toys
You can also come up with mental challenges using things you have at home.
DIY enrichment games are becoming more popular, and you can mimic the function of existing enrichment toys with cardboard boxes, towels, and more.
Why Exercising Your Dog Matters
Committing to properly exercising your dog is part of being a dog owner, and all dogs need outdoor time.
Exercises like walking, running and playing help dogs stay in shape and allow them to familiarize themselves with different smells, sights, and environments.
An underexercised dog is likely to become overweight, which can cause enormous stress on bones and joints.
Providing opportunities to exercise is how you help your four-legged friend to a long, happy, healthy life.
Exercise is also a way to prevent boredom.
Have you ever had a dog barking tirelessly, digging holes in the yard, and chewing furniture?
While these behavioral issues could be training-related, more often than not, they result from under-stimulation and boredom.
When You Can’t Exercise Your Dog Indoors
If you can’t take your dog out because you are injured, busy, or simply not in the mood, your best bet is to hire a dog walker.
A professional dog walker can come to pick up your pup and spare you the trouble and help provide that essential physical exercise.
Yes, it might cost money, but it will save you time and your dog will thank you.
Doggy daycare is another option where your pup can play and socialize with other dogs in a controlled environment.
These options won’t work if the weather prevents you from going for a walk but are better suited for those needing a long-term solution.
There are many options to exercise your dog inside when you cannot do so outside.
Keep in mind, it is not the same as being outside and shouldn’t replace outdoor exercise long-term.
Start by assessing your dog, see what your home has to offer and come up with a plan to exercise indoors.
Adapt games or activities to your dog and its abilities, especially if he or she suffers from any type of health condition.
Last but not least—have fun! Most dogs love a new challenge, and a day stuck inside could be the ultimate opportunity for some healthy dog/owner bonding.