Fall and winter are the worst for exercising the dog. It’s dark in the morning, dark in the late afternoon, and cold and wet in between. There is really nothing good about going outside, and that makes it hard to want to take the dog out for his daily walk(s). The following are 10 ways to burn that energy without having to go out into the weather.
#1 – iFetch
This new product is quite cool. It’s like a doggy version of an automated tennis ball launcher. You can put the ball in the opening after your dog retrievers, or for a fun trick, teach your dog to put the ball in the opening himself (he will most likely figure out on his own anyway.)
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#2 – Indoor agility
You can set up a makeshift agility course in your house with things like chairs and broom poles (jumps), a mat (for a makeshift pause table), cones or boxes (weave poles), and blankets over the space between the couch and the coffee table (tunnel). Or you can buy an indoor agility set like this one. Either way, it’s good exercise for your dog.
#3 – Hide-n-Seek
This came was fun when you were a kid and it can wear your dog out. Put him in a stay while you run and hide, then call him to you. Your dog has to find you! It can also help with recalls! Have several people hiding and take turns calling him! Be sure to have a reward for him when he finds you.
#4 – Stairs
Have stairs? You and your dog can both get a work out running up those stairs. Go slower down the stairs and make sure you talk to your vet about whether your dog is physically capable of doing this type of exercise.
#5 – Canine Conditioning
Doing muscle and balance work can tire a dog out more than a mile run in the cold and wet ever could. You will need to buy some equipment (FitPaws USA makes great stuff) and join a class (Bobby Lyons Cert CF teaches them online), but it’s a great way to get your dog in shape and tire him out at the same time.
#6 – Treadmill
If you own a treadmill, or feel like buying one, they are an easy way for your dog to get exercise when it’s too nasty to go outside. They even make dog-specific treadmills. Again, ask your vet to make sure your dog is capable of running on a treadmill and just like a person, don’t do too much too soon – build up distance and speed slowly.
#7 – Training
Using their brain tires your dog out, so doing some training can help get rid of some energy too. Brush up on obedience, work on a trick, or learn a new skill. If you are feeling uninspired, there are many people who teach online classes where you can learn something in the comfort of your home, or go to a local indoor training facility.
#8 – Scent Work
Another fun game is scent work. Hide your dog’s treats, dinner, or favorite toys and have him sniff them out. You will have to start easy, with them hidden under just some boxes in the plain sight, and gradually build up to harder places, like under the bed or in a drawer.
#9 – Swimming
Have a small dog? Put some water in the bathtub and you have an instant swimming pool! Be sure to watch your dog the entire time he is in the tub, and put something heavy in there that sits on the bottom and is tall enough to allow them to climb out of the water on their own. A large rock or a concrete block works well.
#10 – Give Him a Job
Teach your dog to pick up your clothes and put them in the laundry basket, or teach to put away his own toys. It will make doing household chores fun and keep your dog occupied.