10 ways to tire out your dog indoors
The outbreak of Coronavirus has meant that many of us are confined within our homes in an attempt to slow down its spread and to keep people safe and well in the long run.
Now although many weeks at home with our family sounds amazing, with gyms and health clubs unfortunately being forced to close, this means we have to think of other ways to keep our bodies and minds fit and well.
We all know how much exercise can help to build up immunity which is key to both physical and mental health and in turn this could be so important to successfully stave off the COVID-19 outbreak and keep you and your family safe.
But, it’s not only the two legged members of the family that need exercise…don’t forget about our four legged friends too. Dogs need exercise, training and playtime, however this may now be a big problem for many people during times of self-isolation and social distancing.
So if you find yourself looking for creative ideas to give your pooch some mental and physical stimulation from the confines of your home, then we have 10 ways to entertain them (and yourself) whilst staying indoors.
If you’ve ever tried the StairMaster at the gym, you know how good this exercise can be. If you have got carpeted stairs at home, take advantage of them to tire out a "stair"-crazy dog.
You may have to join in the fun in order to motivate your dog, so make sure you are both healthy enough for this type of exercise and keep in mind that this is not a good exercise for some dogs.
If your dog is older, has any underlying health problems or is prone to arthritis and other joint problems, you may want to keep scrolling…
If you have a room with a bit of space you can easily set up obstacle courses for your dog with furniture you already have.
Jump over broomsticks, run under blankets or weave around upturned bowls – yes those things you saw on Crufts this year can be recreated in your living room.
Your dog will get the exercise he needs and have fun at the same time.
Hide & Seek
Playtime is essential for a dogs mental health and a game of hide and seek is perfect for body and mind. Stash some treats in hidden places in your home and teach your dog to find them. Change up the hiding places everyday to keep the game interesting!
The sport of scent training has many levels of complexity, but the basic task of sniffing out desirable objects comes naturally to dogs.
TIP: Make it more challenging by using a series of bowls or boxes that he will have to flip over to collect his reward.
You can even join in the game – tell your dog to sit in a room then go and hide. Then all you need to do is call your dog and let him find you. The game can be even more interesting when all the family get involved. This is perfect to help teach (or to reinforce) recall training.
Doggy in the Middle
No piggy’s here…but this is a game that can easily be played at home as long as you have a little space. You’ll need two people to play – just grab a ball and throw it between you…let the dog have fun trying to get the ball back.
Why not try Penny Lou's Mandy Monkey or Poppy Big Ball for this one?
If he does manage to get the ball, you can also play fetch. Maybe in a long hallway or on a landing…but think twice before playing fetch with an excited Great Dane indoors!!
TIP: Try using the stairs or placing “jumps” made of pillows in your dogs path to increase the difficulty.
Switch it up a bit and make it more difficult to predict where the ball will bounce with Penny Lou's Squeaky Rugby Ball - make it more interesting!
Tug of War
Another fun game and good exercise for your pup. Play it with some caution as tug of war can make some dogs overly competitive and could lead to more aggressive behaviour in certain breeds.
Always establish that you’re the boss in your home and remember to lighten the mood when your dog gets too involved in the game.
Online Doggy Workouts and Conditioning Classes
Just like to the ever-growing number of online Zumba classes and fitness programs, there are some great resources for dogs. Some exercise can be performed at home, such as walking on a 15-45% inclined and declined treadmill or the stand-to-down, down-to-stand exercise.
Training obedience, skills or new tricks
Now that we have a bit more time on our hands, it’s the perfect time to teach your dog those things you’ve been meaning to for so long.
Anything from basic commands to adding a few new skills to your pup’s bag of tricks can expend mental and physical energy, build confidence and strengthen the human-canine bond.
You also get the added benefit of a well adjusted pup!
There are a wealth of online resources for training and an array of “how-to” training videos on YouTube to get you started…so have fun!
Dogs become very active when faced with mental challenges. There are some great food dispenser puzzles available to buy which are a great challenge for them to solve. They can come in all shapes and sizes and vary in skill level so there’s sure to be one suitable for your dog. Some can be stationary and solved without much physical movement. Others are designed to get your pup moving and working for his prize.
TIP: Rather than filling these weird bouncy, odd shaped toys with treats, fill it with your pooch’s kibble so he can run, jump, play and work for his dinner!
If you have trained your dog obedience as well as the name of some household objects, you can give your pooch some chores to do. Gather up dirty washing from the floor and take them to the basket maybe? Tidy up their own toys so you can do the hoovering? You can even teach your dog to bring you specific items!
The main thing is to enjoy your time at home with your pets...take time out to bond with them more and most of all stay safe!