7 Genius Ways to Exercise Your Dog Indoors
by Jessi Larson
Most dogs need a healthy dose of exercise each and every day. The trouble is, often times the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate.
Depending on where you live, it could be frigid temperatures, heatwaves, rainstorms – or all of the above.
Or, as we’ve now learned, you may have to stay inside due to a pandemic like COVID-19.
These conditions can make walking your dog precarious, if not downright dangerous. Unfortunately, your dog will still need its daily workout.
So what do you do?
I’ve been in this situation many, many times with Toby. Minnesota isn’t exactly known for its awesome weather. And when it’s crazy cold, like -10 degrees, poor Toby can barely walk outside to go to the bathroom, let alone go on long walks.
All is not lost, however. There are still many ways you can give your dog a solid workout indoors. Here are seven ideas to try out.
1. Play fetch inside
The space may be smaller, but you can still get in a pretty vigorous game of fetch indoors.
Depending on the size of your dwelling, you might have to rearrange a few things to make space. And it’s definitely a good idea to move valuable and breakable things out of the way entirely.
Since the distance is a lot shorter than it would be at the park, this method might take a bit longer to tire out your dog.
Still, it’s a great way to get in some intense exercise and wear out your feisty furball.
2. Start a game of tug of war
If your dog is physically up for it, a game of tug of war is another awesome indoor idea.
For this, I would say that a rope toy works best. They’re durable and decent for your dog’s teeth.
When playing this game, just make sure your dog is having fun and doesn’t get too aggressive.
3. Get a Squishy Face Studio Pole
We bought this Squishy Face Studio Pole for Toby a few years ago and it has been a godsend.
Even at his gigantic size, Toby still find this to be a challenging activity.
Smaller dogs will have an even more intense workout.
To get started, you grab the pole and move it around so your dog will have to work to get the fleece toy at the bottom. The elastic-like cord makes the toy jump and fly around.
To get at the toy, dogs have to run and jump, thus burning lots of energy. (Hallelujah!)
Also worth noting: All the parts are made of high-quality, durable material.
And believe me, I am a tough critic when it comes to toughness and quality after witnessing Toby destroy SO MANY toys.
4. Run the stairs
This is a simple one. If you have stairs in your house and your dog is physically able, why not encourage them to run up and down the stairs for a bit?
To get the game going, you can stand at the top of the stairs and throw a ball down, then encourage your dog to bring it back up to you.
Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you can always run up and down with them.
5. Work on indoor agility training
Do you ever see those professional dog shows on TV and think, how in the world can those dogs do all those cool tricks?
Well, you can start off small with a starter indoor agility kit, like this one from Outward Hound Kyjen.
A day stuck inside is a perfect time to work on learning new tricks. And your pup will get worn out mentally and physically through indoor agility training.
6. Search for treats
Another idea is to play hide and seek with dog treats.
Ask your dog to sit and stay, then go out of sight and hide the treat in a location that’s challenging for your dog to find, but not too tough.
Also, make sure they know the general area where you’ve hid it, otherwise they might be searching for hours. Although, that might not be a bad thing!
7. Buy an interactive food toy
No joke, we just bought two of these as Christmas gifts for family members with dogs.
Here’s how it works: You remove the top and fill the inside with dog food. After securing the top back on, you put the toy on the floor and encourage your dog to push it around the house in hopes of getting bits of food here and there. It’s a great motivator!
For larger dogs who like to chew, I’d recommend the cube. It’s tougher to clamp down on and chew.
But for the smaller pups, the ball is the way to go since it’s easier to push.
Also check out this article for more dog puzzle toys.
Exercising Your Dog Indoors
Without a doubt, dogs get much better exercise going on walks or romping around outdoors. But in a pinch, these activities work wonders.
Do you have any interesting ways you exercise your pup indoors? We’d love to hear them below!