Pets need regular exercise to be healthy. A lack of physical activity can lead to several problems, including hyperactive behavior, increased aggression and furniture destruction. However, when the weather doesn’t cooperate with a daily walk, and you live in a small space, finding ways to exercise your dog takes a bit of creativity. Here are seven ways you can burn off your canine’s energy in a small space.
1. Hide Food Puzzle Toys
Dogs are typically more active when faced with a mental challenge. Consider putting kibble or healthy training treats inside a food puzzle dispenser. Hide the toy in various places around the house and let your canine hunt for it. This can keep your dog busy for quite a while when he needs to stay indoors. Remember to change the food and hiding places regularly to keep your pet engaged.
2. Build an Indoor Obstacle Course
You can combine mental and physical exercise by setting up an indoor agility course for your pooch. Use boxes and bins to create a winding path of intriguing obstacles in the living room. Place hula hoops or pool noodles over low furniture to create jumps. You can also build a tunnel by draping blankets over a line of chairs.
Make it fun by adding different routes and challenges, and planting food along the way. Your furry friend will love jumping over various objects in order to get to the tasty treats.
3. Create a Tub Waterpark
If you have a small-to-medium-sized dog and a sizable bathtub, swimming can be another great exercise. Add enough water to the tub so that your canine can move its arms and legs. Be sure to maintain constant supervision.
You could also create a splash zone by adding a few inches of water and tossing in toys. If your dog is scared, throw in some floatable treats for encouragement.
4. Utilize Training
Take advantage of your day indoors to work on basic commands or add a few new skills to your pup’s repertoire. Training uses mental and physical energy, strengthens the human-animal bond and builds confidence.
Depending on the breed, you can even teach your dog tricks such as putting away toys. Pet owners can find how-to training videos online for all kinds of behaviors, including sit, stay, roll over and speak, as well as more advanced abilities.
5. Take the Stairs
Does your home or apartment have stair access? Running up and down with your buddy makes for great exercise. You can even throw your dog’s favorite toy up the stairs for them to chase. Keep in mind, however, that the stairs may not be good exercise for canines that are old, have health issues or are recovering from surgery.
6. Play Hide and Seek
Exercise your dog’s body as well as its nose with this fun activity. Simply stash treats all over the home and let your pup find them. Try changing the hiding places each day to keep the game stimulating and fun.
You can also try another version of the game — one that gets the whole family involved. Have your pet sit and stay while your family members hide around the house. When ready, have the participants call the dog’s name to come and find them one at a time. Keep the hiding spots simple at first, so your pooch doesn’t become discouraged.
7. Blow Bubbles
One easy way to get your canine moving is by blowing bubbles. Dogs with strong prey instincts are sure to love this exercise. Simply use a wand to create bubbles and let your pupper pop them until she becomes tired. Be sure to encourage popping and not eating, and use a natural, non-toxic solution. You can make a DIY solution at home using glycerin and water.
Sometimes going for a long walk outside just isn’t possible due to frigid temperatures, heatwaves or rainstorms. However, being stuck inside doesn’t have to be boring. You can easily provide your dog with any of these stimulating activities to ensure it stays healthy, happy and safe.
Author bio: Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Digital Marketing and Technology for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans.