Dog's that don't get enough exercise become destructive!
If your dog tends to have the “zoomies” on a regular basis, and your furniture or shoes end up as your dog's favorite chew toy its time to get your dog tired out! Dogs that don't get the right amount of exercise become more destructive, unruly and bad listeners. Their pent up energy needs to be released or else your home will take a beating.
Giving your dog the right amount of exercise means you'll get to enjoy your home for years to come, without teeth marks!
In part one of this series, (you can check out that article here) we covered 5 indoor exercises that will help keep your dog mentally and physically fit. In this second part of the series, we'll cover 5 more ways you can drain your dog's energy level without having to go outside for a walk. Walks are great but not when it's pouring, freezing or sweltering hot out.
1) Core Strengthening: Core conditioning isn't just for humans, dogs need strong cores especially as they get older so they can control themselves better when jumping, running and turning. You can work on your dog's core by doing puppy push-ups. This can be achieved by doing a series of sit and down cues back to back. You can work on sit to stand positions where you ask your dog for a “sit” and immediately ask for the “stand” cue and repeat. Think of it like human crunches. You can incorporate a FitPaws stability bone into your dog's exercise routine. The FitPaws stability bone is the equivalent of a stability ball for humans https://fitpawsusa.com/product/k9fitbone/
2) Obstacle Course: Whether you get creative or buy agility equipment from Affordable Agility you can really have some fun exercising your dog. Set up equipment to get your dog running on, over, around, and through pieces of equipment. You can easily make jumps with broomsticks and paint cans and a set of weave poles with cones and chairs. You can use a blanket and 2 chairs for a makeshift tunnel. Make it fun and your dog won't even know they are working out. https://www.affordableagility.com/
3) Tug of War: This is another good core exercise for your dogs as they are using their legs to brace and balance as well as tug and pull. Make sure you control the game from start to finish. First, make them work for the opportunity to play. In order to get to play tug ask your dog for a sit/stay and release them after a few moments. Their reward for a job well done is the game of tug. When you want them to drop the tug toy, offer up a higher value item such as a piece of kibble and try to stand tall and stop tugging, when your dog goes to grab at the treat and drops the tug toy use the cue “drop it.” If your dog does not drop the toy right away don't keep repeating the words “drop it.” You'll actually teach them that tugging and “drop it” are the same thing.
4) Hide and Seek: This game incorporates mental and physical exercise. First, put your dog in a sit/stay and start by going out of sight slightly. Going around the corner of a wall or door is a good start. Release your dog from the stay and call your dogs name only one time. When they get to you, love them up like it was the best thing they ever did. As your dog gets faster and faster at finding you, increase the difficulty of your hiding spot. The most common mistake people make is starting off from a difficult hiding spot and losing their dog's focus. Their dog loses interest quickly since they find the game difficult and no fun. If you play this game often you can actually transfer this skill to recall games later. The recall or come cue is one of the most important safety cues there is, so having a rock solid foundation is a must!
5) Puzzle Toys: I absolutely love to get creative with the puzzle toys I give my dogs and you can do the same. Puzzle toys are awesome for mental exercise. They consist of things that really get your dog's brain working to try to figure out how to get a treat to pop out or dispense. You can start off easy with a Kong filled with peanut butter and kibble or better yet the Kong Wobbler will really get them moving as they have to roll and push the toy to get the treats to “fall” out faster. There are tons of puzzle toys on the market that are specifically designed with your dog's mental exercise in mind. They can offer a range of intensity and complexity. These are great “busy” toys for those times you can't engage in exercise with your dog but still need to tire your dog out.
If you haven't seen the first part of this series and you're looking for more ways to tire your dog out by doing indoor exercise activities, check out this article.
Whether your trying to tire out their brain your their body your dog's exercise routines should be part of their everyday routine. Just like humans are supposed to work out at least a few times a week our dogs are supposed to exercise daily. Ideally giving your dog a solid 1-2 hours of exercise sometime throughout the day would be ideal.
If you want a tired dog at dinner or during family movie time, instead of a racing unruly terror interrupting your quiet time, then you'll need to make sure their fitness needs are met otherwise you can kiss your quiet time goodbye (as well as your furniture and shoes).
If your ready for 5 more ways to drain your dog's brain and body of crazy amounts of fuel, then head over to the next article here. You're sure to find something that really gets your dog tuckered out!