Dogs have exercise needs, just like humans, and these needs remain constant all year round. During these long winter months, walks and time spent playing in the yard may be in short supply. Fortunately, you can keep your dog active indoors with the right toys and games.
Benefits of Keeping Your Dog Active
While it’s easier to just let your dog lounge all day, you’ll appreciate the many benefits of keeping your pooch active:
- Keep your dog fit and trim, helping him avoid obesity and prolonging his life.
- Reduce destructive or annoying habits such as chewing on shoes, barking excessively or greeting guests overenthusiastically.
- Help your dog find relief from digestive trouble or mobility issues.
- Help your dog feel less anxious or aggressive by releasing bottled-up energy.
Keep Your Dog Active Indoors With Games
The type of games your dog enjoys depends on his personality, rambunctiousness and size. If you need extra room, play in an open area, such as the basement or garage with the car pulled out. Give these ideas a try:
- Play tug of war with a rope toy.
- Play fetch with a soft toy. Increase the challenge by throwing the toy up or down (carpeted) stairs.
- Tie a stuffed animal to the end of a rope and pull it around to simulate a predatory chase.
- Shine a laser pointer across the floor for a game of chase that’s effortless on your part.
Keep Your Dog Active Indoors With Play Dates
Just like children, dogs can benefit from the social interaction that comes with play dates. If your best friend has a dog, take advantage of the opportunity to let your pet socialize with another animal. Have your friend bring their dog over and carefully supervise the interaction. The animals could become close friends too, and help each other stay active.
Keep Your Dog Active Indoors With Scavenging
Mental activity is just as important as physical activity. Stimulate your pup’s brain with a food puzzle. Instead of a food dish, place your dog’s kibble in this hollow toy with openings for the food to fall out of. Eating then becomes a stimulating mental exercise instead of a chance to wolf down the food as fast as possible.
Another way to feed your dog’s natural desire to scavenge is to spread peanut butter on the inside of a hollow toy, such as a Kong. This is a good way to keep your dog focused on a positive activity when you have to leave him home alone.
Keep Your Dog Active Indoors With an Obstacle Course
Strategically place chairs, stools or cardboard boxes around the room. Get your dog’s attention with a couple of treats. Then throw a treat into the obstacle course and tell him to “find it!” He’ll hunt down the treat with his nose and release some energy with a little exercise at the same time.
Keep Your Dog Active Indoors With a Game of Hide and Seek
When your dog is in the mood to play, tag him and then run and hide. He’ll come chasing after you. When he gets close, jump out and surprise him. This playful game exercises your dog and helps the bond between you two to grow.
The experienced vets at Germantown Vet Clinic are a great source for more tips to keep your dog happy and healthy. We can provide personalized ideas to help your dog get enough exercise even while staying indoors.
Contact us online or by phone at 240-252-7467 for more useful tips!