Winter always feels longer than any other season. Even here, in Southern California, this winter has seemed to drag on with cool temperatures and lots of rain. Spring might be getting closer, but we aren’t there yet. While you might be able to escape to the gym or get in some at-home workouts, your dog might not be getting the exercising he/she needs while hiding from the bad weather. However, it can be easy to get your dog up and moving, even if you’re both still hibernating for a few more weeks. Try these easy (and fun) indoor exercises for your dog brought to you by Wags and Walks:
Play Fetch Inside
Mom always taught us to never play ball in the house, but this is an exception! At least we think it’s a good reason to break the rules. If you can’t take your dog out to chase the tennis ball, the least you can do is roll it around inside the house. You can even do this sitting down in front of the TV if you don’t mind multitasking a bit. It’s probably safest to do this on carpet so your pup doesn’t slip around or knock anything over during all the excitement. If you live in an apartment building, find a hallway that people don’t frequent to get even more fetch space. Even though you won’t be able to throw the ball far, your dog will still enjoy the chase.
Work Out on the Stairs
Friend or foe, it’s hard to say that taking the stairs isn’t good for your health. Well, the same holds true for your dog. Whether he/she is walking or running up and down the stairs, it’s an easy way to keep building that muscle, even when he/she can’t spend hours outside. Don’t push your dog too much, especially if they have any health concerns or arthritis, but also don’t let them wimp out on you. Incorporate a game of fetch if a little incentive is needed. It will be good for you and your dog to start using the stairs more.
Treat Hide and Seek
If you have a treat motivated pup, it’s time to use that to your advantage. You can hide treats around the room and for your dog search out. You can even add yourself to the equation and play a classic game of hide and seek. Once your dog finds you, he/she is rewarded two times over - seeing you (the one he/she loves) and getting a real treat. Plus, they get to channel their inner hunter while they are running around the house. This is also a great way to get the whole family involved and get some quality time with the pets while everyone is around the house together. Make it extra challenging and set up some “traps” that can serve as an agility course while they are searching for the treat or you.
If you have a treadmill at home, you can always utilize this for indoor exercises and train your dog to walk/run on that. Check in with your vet first to make sure this is okay for your dog, and be prepared for it to take a little time for him/her to get used to. Don’t push your pup too hard and be patient with the training. It’s important to monitor your dog at all times when you’re using the treadmill, keeping them on their leash and staying with them the entire time. As they get used to it, you can play with the speed and incline to keep them on their toes!
Bonus Indoor Exercise: Practice Basic Commands
Another easy way to keep your dog active is freshening up on their basic commands. This will not only keep them moving, but it will also benefit you. The classic sit, stay, and come commands are simple, but a great activity for the mind and body!
We know that it’s more fun to exercise outside, but these indoor dog exercises will keep you moving until the warmer weather comes around. Remember, it’s important to maintain your pup’s mental and physical health year-round, even throughout the colder months!