Winter weather and a rainy day can put a damper on Fido’s normal fitness routine. Besides keeping your pooch healthy, lack of physical activity can also mean your furry friend is prone to boredom, which can lead to depression, anxiety and misbehavior. We’ve put together a list of easy ways to exercise your dog even when it’s too cold for outdoor play.
1. Try Doga
Let’s face it, we need exercise when it’s cold out, too. Why not work out together? Try taking a Doga class with your pup, or check out these tutorials if you want to try it at home. While basic yoga has been around for thousands of years, Doga is fairly new to the scene, and has increased in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise may not expel all that pent up energy, but many experts and practitioners agree it has healing properties and strengthens the bond between canine and human.
2. Learn Agility
Of course, you don’t have to leave home for your pup to enjoy indoor exercise. Get Fido moving with an Indoor Agility Kit. You can set up the kit as an obstacle course in your home, and use the included training tips booklet to teach him commands and tricks, all while strengthening your bond together. By the time the weather warms up, he’ll be ready to show off his new moves to all his friends at the dog park.
3. Play Human-Dog Games
Exercising Fido indoors doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Tennis balls, rope toys and treats can be enough to get his adrenaline pumping. If you have another human present, play a game of keep-away and get your pup moving back and forth. Just remember to occasionally reward him for all his hard work. You can also try playing hide and seek. Hide behind a door, a curtain, or furniture and call for your pet. See if he can use his senses to find you. This not only gets him moving, but is a great way to practice coming when he’s called. Hide and seek can also be played by hiding treats in various locations throughout the house. While playing you can work on commands like “stay” and “find it.” In addition to the exercise these games provide, he’ll love spending the quality time with you.
4. Try Out the iFetch
We can’t always play along when our pups need exercise. While you’re busy working from home, keep your dog entertained for hours with iFetch. This interactive, automatic ball launcher gives your dog his fix without any effort from you. The small thrower is set to launch mini tennis balls 10, 20 or 30 feet, perfect for indoor use. After retrieving it, all your pooch has to do is drop it in the hole and wait for the next throw. If your dog likes variety, there’s a random setting to keep him guessing the distance. Set it up in a large room or your hallway to keep Fido on the move.
5. Purchase a Dog Treadmill
Some dogs need more than the average game of fetch or hide and seek to hit their steps, and the dogPACER Treadmill offers just that. Sure, the scenery isn’t as great as the outdoors, but Fido will enjoy getting the chance to move his paws. The dogPacer has a built-in computer with pre-set exercise programs for your pup, or you can create your own. It even folds away for easy storage.
6. Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
If you’ve been meaning to work on Fido’s commands or trying to break that habit of barking at the mailman, winter is a great time to start training your dog. Try downloading an app like Dog Training and Clicker by Dogo to help get your pup on the right track. The program generates daily training ideas tailored to your pooch’s progress. Your canine can learn new commands and tricks, control impulsive behavior, and try out some fun, creative games you can play together at home. Once you make your way through a level, submit a video exam for review by specialists. Connect with a community of dogs and owners, stay in touch with professionals, and build a tighter bond with your best friend.
7. Work on Balance
There are all kinds of balance boards on the market for humans, but did you know Fido can join in the workout with his very own board? This Balance Bone is designed to use inside and out to build core muscles, body awareness and balance. The little bumps also stimulate your pooch’s paws as they practice different routines. Less clumsy pups with a good center of gravity can also try their paws at a Wobble Board.
8. Sharpen Fido’s Mind
Interactive dog toys like puzzles and brain teasers can keep your pooch entertained for hours, offering both physical and mental stimulation. Treat dispensing toys like the KONG Wobbler are a fan-favorite, and the Trixie Mad Scientist not only keeps your pup entertained but also helps with motor skills. You can adjust the level of difficulty once he has it mastered. For the dog who requires a little more stimulation, purchase the Wickedbone Smart Bone. This interactive toy has nine motions and can be synced to an app on your phone so you control the trajectory, or switch it to autonomous mode so it moves by itself, reacting to your pup’s touch.
Courtesy Lauren Barker, Bring Fido