Did you know 50% of dogs in the U.S alone are overweight?
Our dogs like us need regular exercise, especially if they are overweight dogs. In order to keep our dogs mentally and physically fit we need to develop and maintain a daily exercise routine.
However, the good news is there are plenty of fun ways to add exercise to our dog's daily routine. And since many of these activities involve your active participation, chances are, you will end up burning off a few extra calories, too. Cool, right?
Following are 11 easy tips to exercise your dog.
1. Make use of stairs to run your dog up and down the stairs
Using stairs could be a great way to exercise your dog as it will quickly tire your dog out. The steps in the staircase provide a challenging workout for a dog as it tends to use different muscles than those used in a regular walk or a run. You will play the game by standing at the top of the staircase and throw your dog’s favorite toy down. Have the dog bring back the toy to you by calling out his name. Several rounds of this activity will serve as a great work out for your dog.
2. Make your dog work for its treats.
This is a great work out for those living in apartments as the exercise can be done indoors. Pick up a multiple of your dog’s favorite treats and hide them around the house. Hide them under the table, underneath rugs, or behind doors etc. This activity will keep your dog busy for some time and by the time he is done finding out his treats, all his energy will be spent and he will be extremely worn out in the process.
3. Playing frisbee
Playing Frisbee with your dog could prove to be one of the easiest and fun filed activities that you can do to exercise your dog. Try to toss your Frisbee as far as you can even further than you can toss a ball so that it allows your dog to end up running a lot more between each toss, as extra running will allow burning off a lot more calories.
Starting with a soft disc or rubber frisbee would be great especially if you never practiced playing Frisbee with your dog before. They are easier to pick up, lighter to catch and softer so that they are unlikely to cause injury to your dog.
4. Playing tug of war
The fourth activity I would like to recommend is playing tug war with your dog. You and your dog will thoroughly enjoy the activity. Playing tug of war with your dog would prove to be one of the most physically and mentally challenging exercise, and hence makes it the best activity to exercise your dog.
While tugging is a great exercise for your dog, however, I should also warn you that when playing with your dog, if your dog hasn’t learnt basic bite constraint, you will have to struggle to play the game with him, as you would have to make a continuous effort in order to keep your hands safe from the sharp teeth of your puppy.
Hence, I would like to add a word of caution and suggestion here that watch out for your dog’s sharp teeth while playing the game, also make sure to work on teaching your puppy basic bite inhibition before attempting to play the game.
5. Using a flirt pole
When it comes to exercising your dogs quickly, Flirt poles come in handy. The game is also commonly known as flirt stick. A flirt pole is a long pole with an enticing object attached to it by a rope to the end. As you move the pole around the ground, with the lure object tagging along, it will entice the dog to chase the object. This activity will prove to be a great source of physical exercise along with mental stimulation.
This activity of flirt rope will be extremely exhausting for your dog especially the initial couple of minutes of using a flirt pole, so I would advise you to keep the sessions short at start to avoid any possible injury as a result of this high impact activity.
6. Walk, hike or jog with your dog
Walking and hiking are the oldest exercises found to be effective, so don’t forget to take your dog for a daily walk.
You will even experience your dog’s excitement when it’s time for their walk. It proves to be an activity that’s full of excitement, delight and adventure for dogs as they don’t get to choose when it’s time to go out and explore their surroundings. Hence, when you take your dogs out for a walk, they feel happy as well as it serves as the best physical and mental exercise for them.
In order to keep the excitement alive and prevent it from getting a little mundane, you can try exploring different places every week or twice a week at least to go walking, or try changing your pace. Sometimes it might be a beach, other times it might be a local park, or just a new place in neighborhood.
You can even start a jogging or hiking routine for bringing more variety, and change from light activity to more physically demanding activity. The key is to keep the fun part alive by switching from low to high impact activities, trying different things making it a worthwhile experience for your dogs, something that not helps them exercise but also brings them joy.
7. A game of fetch
A game of fetch is the best interactive activity to exercise your dog. You can even play it indoors if you have an extra room. A light weight toy is required to play the game. From Big living rooms to stairways and hallways make the best choices for playing the game.
It would come as a surprise to you as how some dogs naturally play the game of fetch very well; however, some dogs need a bit of practicing. If you find your dog reluctant when it comes to fetching the toys or having issues with the game, your dog might need a little training to learn to fetch.
8. Play hide & seek with your dog
Now hide and seek is one of the oldest games that I am sure your dog would love playing as mine absolutely loves it. Not only it’s a fun game, and best exercising opportunity for your dog, it also let your dog use some of their scent tracking abilities in a way that turns out to be both exciting and sensory experience for them.
The trick to play hide and seek with your dog is let them stay while you find the hiding spot. Once you are settled in your hiding place, call your dog and praise them once they successfully find you.
Your dog might not be very responsive if paying hide and seek for the first time, you might seek help of a close friend who will calm down and distract your dog while you hide.
Swimming is another great way to exercise your dog. Swimming as such doesn’t require any weight bearing on the part of a dog; hence it serves as a great low impact exercise for dogs with issues such as mobility and arthritis. Swimming is a thoroughly enjoyable experience for your dogs which help them experience variety of motion and build up muscle mass.
If you don’t have any place to take your dog for swimming you can take them to public beaches, dog parks with added water feature to facilitate them.
If your dog is new to swimming you have to take it slow, not all dogs are natural swimmers; some take time to develop the skill. Also make sure to Google some swimming safety tips for your dog before you get started.
10. Follow the dog
Try this new hack for bringing twist to the daily walks of your dog.
Let your dog walk you, rather than you walking your dog. Wherever the dog goes, you follow the dog. Let the dog lead you; let it be your four-legged guide and a walking GPS that isn't letting you know where your final destination is. You'll be amazed at the leading skills of your dog and where he/she will take you!
11. Chase bubbles
One of the best and easiest activities when it comes to exercise your dog is to let them chase bubbles. Your dog will absolutely love the activity as mine thoroughly enjoyed it too.
Teach your dog to chase the bubbles by by blowing a couple of bubbles at a time. Point them in your dog’s direction and encourage them to chase them. Show them how to catch some yourself to let them know it’s a fun filled activity, nothing to be scared of and they must get them before they hit the ground. I am sure your dogs will have a great time doing this exercise cum activity.
What are some of your favorite ways to exercise your dog?
How do you exercise your dog on a daily basis? Do you exercise him daily or weekly? Now it’s your turn to share your favorite games or activities that you use to exercise your dog. Comment down below and let us know.