TIPS FOR EXERCISING YOUR DOG AT HOME
As with humans, the amount of exercise a dog needs every day is dependent on age and health, but breed needs to be considered as well.
To make sure that your dog is getting exercise at home, consider these easy tips that will stimulate your dog both mentally and physically.
Dogs love mental challenges. There is a great variety of dog puzzles and games to choose from or get creative. Cut several holes into a water bottle and put your dog’s favourite treats inside. Your dog has to spin the bottle around using its paws to make the treats fall out. The more holes you make in the bottle, the easier it will be for your dog to get the treats.
Treat Dispensing Toys
These toys use the best motivation for your dog, namely tasty food! Treat dispensing toys usually dispense treats when your dog interacts with it.
Use several cups or bowls and allow your dog to watch you place a treat under one of them. Shuffle the cups thoroughly and let your dog find the one with the treat.
‘Which Hand’ Game
Hold a treat in your hand, close your fists and show both hands to your dog. Let your dog choose which hand the treat is in by sniffing your fists. Remember to reward your dog with the treat.
Running up and down the stairs is great for building muscle. Make sure not to push your dog too hard, as this exercise is just as strenuous for dogs as it is for people. Take special care with dogs that have longer backs and shorter legs.
This all-time favourite gets your pooch moving and provides great mental stimulation. Stash treats in hidden places in your home and teach your dog to find them. Make sure to change the hiding places to keep the game interesting. You can also play hide-and-seek together and tell your dog to sit in a room while you go hide, then call your dog and let them find you.
With careful training, your dog can learn to love treadmill workouts and build endurance. Do not leash your dog while exercising, just keep an eye on them and give them treats from the front end of the treadmill.
Most pooches enjoy a game of tug which not only builds muscle, but also the human-animal bond. Make use of the wide variety of tug toys available or make your own.
You don’t need a big space to create your own agility course. Make use of household supplies such as boxes, hula hoops, ottomans and broom handles.
If you have a pool at home, swimming is great exercise, weather permitting. Swimming is also great for dogs with joint problems, as it provides low-impact exercise. Use a life jacket to help your dog stay in the water longer for workouts.
Make it more interesting by alternating between balls, frisbees or other prized toys to keep your dog’s attention.
Practising recall and retrieving and reinforcing basic commands offer mental stimulation as well as exercise. Spice up your dog’s life and teach him to do fun tricks such as twirling, weaving, high fiving, dancing, opening and closing doors or even speaking.
Give Your Dog a Job
If you’ve trained your pooch obedience, as well as the names of some household objects, give your dog some chores. You can teach your dog to gather clothes from the floor and take them to the laundry basket, to bring you things or to tidy up toys after playtime.
Take your dog on Sniffari in or around your home and turn their favourite activity into a rewarding game. Make use of mats, hula hoops, tents, chairs, tables, old shoes, boxes, feathers, twigs and different containers to add different dimensions and physical and tactile challenges. Present interesting odours (a little dried ginger powder, cinnamon or other non-toxic food smells) in different ways – up high, down low, under or behind obstacles, in tubs/boxes, laid out with plenty of space in between each obstacle. Make sure the items are safe and do not contain any substances toxic to dogs.