With teleworking and social distancing the new norm for now, how do we make sure our dogs get the exercise they need if you can't get to their daily walk at the crowded dog park?
In combination with Veterinarian Chad Dodd, consultant to YuMOVE, with over 20 years in the animal health industry, here are some fast facts for that home-bound pooch:
Keep your mutt moving
No matter what size house or apartment you have, find 15 minutes twice a day and walk at a decent pace through your home with your dog. It gets your pet and you moving. If the weather is nice and you have a terrace or backyard, get some fresh air while you power walk around the area and if you are feeling super fit add in some intervals of jogging, sprinting, or lunges to spice it up.
Become a stair master
Stairs can be the perfect option to help your pooch burn off some energy. Walking your dog up and down the stairs is great exercise and becoming a stair master also means your dog is engaging different muscles to when they go for walkies. This is likely to burn off a lot of indoor energy pretty quick! The only “watch out” is stairs aren’t always suitable for all dogs. If your dog experiences joint stiffness and/or is a bit more elderly this is one that’s not recommended.
Hide & treat
Hide some kibble or favorite toys around your home and let your dog find them. When playing this game it’s probably a good idea to try not to make the game of hide and treat too difficult because you don’t really want to step on lots of kibble throughout the house in years to come!
Teach them tricks
It’s easy to forget that your doggo doing tricks can actually be great exercise, working out both their body and mind. You can revisit the basics, paw, sit or roll, on to weaving through your legs, picking up their favourite toys, fetching slippers (if you want holey ones) and spinning. Dogs love it and its really good exercise, and stimulation. A clicker will help with the training, or grab an activity toy to develop your dog’s concentration levels
Play tag and tug of war with your dog
Tag can be done in a hallway, basement, or backyard. Grab your dog’s favorite soft toy, give it a toss, except this time, race your dog to retrieve it.
Get in touch with your dog’s instincts, with tug of war. Establish your position as master and keep the mood light. Tug of war is great for tiring out your pooch. An overly competitive dog may get riled up, so it’ super important in this scenario to remain cool and in control. One way to do this is to break up the tug of war into short periods, with breaks in between, and not reward aggressive behaviour.
Set up an obstacle course
This can be done in your living room, basement, or backyard. You just have to loosely plan out your obstacle course and then in whatever way best suits, lead your dog through it.
We recommend you use low hurdles (broom stick across laundry baskets or boxes), tunnels (available from pet retailers or cardboard boxes), and a slalom course (plastic cups set about 3 feet apart) to exercise your dog. Not only will they love the exercise but the change-up and challenge will also mentally engage them. With this activity be sure that both you and your pooch have a good deal of space and the obstacles that you have created are easy for them to get over, through or under. We don’t what any injuries for either of you!
Make food fun but try not to overfeed
Hiding treats for that game of “hide and treat” is not the only option for food-based ideas for indoor exercise. Dog treat puzzle dispenses are both physically and mentally challenging and awesome fun for your best fury friend. You can also try feeding your dog with a slow feeder to keep them on their paws. And not forgetting the favourite of pooch parents all over the globe, Kongs. Stuffing a Kong is a great way to keep your dog active, we recommend using your pooches favourite stuffing and then freezing the Kong. By freezing the Kong you’ll challenge your dog even further and prolong the amount of time it will keep them moving.
Consider your dog’s diet
With all the tips above, hopefully your dog will stay nice and healthy but they are still unlikely to have the same amount of exercise as they did when you were outdoors running with them twice a day. It’s worth looking at how much you are feeding them and assessing if you need to cut back because of a reduction exercise.
Do you have any indoor exercise top tips for your pooch? Share your experiences over on our Facebook.