While walks outside and dog parks can be great for exercise, they are not always an option. With many people stuck at home due to shelter-in-place orders during coronavirus, pet owners may be struggling with different ways to exercise their dogs indoors. Learning how to exercise your dog indoors will keep them in shape no matter the situation, and also works during the winter or rainy days!
Indoor exercises for dogs
The types of exercises you can do with your dog inside largely depends on your living space. Not all of these options may work for you, but no matter if you live in a large house or a smaller apartment you should be able to adapt some of these ideas to work for you.
1. Take your dog up and down the stairs
Stairs are a great way to get a lot of exercise quickly and can be a fun workout for your dog if you are in a pinch for time. Going up and down the stairs uses different muscles than regular walking or running and adds an additional exercise challenge. Play fetch with your dog by throwing a toy down the stairs and having them run it back up to you. Alternatively, you can walk or run them up the stairs yourself and get your workout in for the day. Older dogs and dogs with hip problems may struggle with stairs, so this exercise is best for puppies and active adult dogs.
2. Have a scavenger hunt
This exercise is best for dogs with a keen sense of smell. Put a treat in a box and have your dog try to find it. As your dog gets better, you can make it more challenging. Your dog will move from place to place looking for the treat. Not only is this a good form of casual exercise, but it helps develop your dog’s sense of smell and confidence as well. This game may not work for every dog, but it works well in smaller apartments where there may not be as much space.
3. Tug of war (be careful!)
Playing tug of war with your dog is a great option for those who do not have very much space. Dogs love to play tug with their favorite toys, so this can work for almost any age or breed of dog. You’ll want to make sure you have a safe space where you and your dog won’t knock over anything fragile or hit any furniture corners. The added bonus is you will get a great arm workout!
4. Use food or treat-based toys
A great form of hands-off exercise is purchasing a food puzzle, Kong, or other interactive feeder where your dog has to work for their food or treats. This is a great way to give your dog some casual exercise and mental stimulation that they can do themselves. This can be a great option for keeping your dog engaged or distracted while you are working from home or on a conference call. Another option is to give your dog a long-lasting chew that they can play with throughout the day.
5. Set up an obstacle course
Obstacle courses are a great option for both large houses and small apartments. Teach your dog to jump over small furniture, go under the table, or go around a set of pillows on the floor. You can get as creative as you like with an obstacle course and create something personalized for your dog’s size, abilities, and exercise needs. This can be a fun activity for both you and your dog and is a great training and obedience exercise.
6. Play hide and seek
Play hide and seek with your dog. Have them stay, find a hiding place, and then call your dog from where you are. This can be a fun game for both you and your dog and is a great way to provide them with some mental stimulation. When your dog finds you, reward them with a small treat or verbal affirmation and play again.
7. Use a treadmill
If you own a treadmill, take your dog for a walk indoors! Treadmills are a great way for dogs to get some exercise indoors. Ensure that you are always watching your dog while they are using the treadmill, as they could get hurt without proper supervision. Start slow and build up speed as your dog adjusts, but always keep them at a safe pace so that they do not get overwhelmed or fall off of the treadmill.
With these tips, you’ll be able to keep your dog active and healthy, even when you are stuck indoors!