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If you’re a pet parent, you’ve likely asked yourself, “how much exercise do dogs need?” at one point or another. The short answer is, dogs need a lot of exercise! They need frequent walks outdoors for their physical and mental well-being — at least once or twice per day.
But any dog parent can tell you that there are some days when that's just not possible. Maybe there's a snowstorm outside or you're unwell, so you just can't get out there.
Fear not, as there are plenty of ways to exercise your dog at home, or in your backyard if you have one. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can give your pup the physical and mental stimulation they need, even when you can’t go for a walk. Here are some useful tips on how to exercise your dog without leaving your home.
Obedience training may not sound like the most thrilling dog workout, but it's a great way to get your dog moving while tackling any behavioral issues in a safe and low-pressure environment. What’s more, teaching your furry friend basic commands like "sit" and "stay" helps to establish a bond between the two of you while also developing their confidence in the outside world.
Plus, pups can also get bored at home. They need mental stimulation, so obedience training is an excellent way to provide that. A happy, stimulated dog is less likely to have destructive behavior, so we highly encourage grabbing some treats and getting ready to engage with your pup.
Try starting with the basics, such as sit, stay, and come, then progress to more complex commands, such as a handshake, fetch, and puppy push-ups — which we’ll share how to do below. Most importantly, don't forget cuddles as your dog makes progress!
Once your dog has mastered how to sit, stand, and go into the laying position on command, here’s a step-by-step process of how to train them to do puppy push-ups. This whole process is great for mental stimulation and exercise, no matter how small of a space you have at home!
Hide and seek isn't just for kids — your dog can play too! It's a great dog exercise for any pup that’s struggling to overcome separation anxiety. They can build their confidence by being left alone for short periods of time while strengthening their bond with you at the same time. Plus, it’s one of the more fun ways to exercise your dog for us humans too!
So, how do you start playing with your pup? First, tell your dog to “sit” and “stay” and then slowly walk away from them while they can see you. If they follow your command, rush back and reward them with treats, cuddles, or a toy.
Repeat this process until you eventually move out of the room and out of sight, and then call them using commands like “come” or “find me.” When your dog gets better at playing the game, you can start hiding in spots that are increasingly difficult for them to locate you. Dogs like to find their human companions using a trail of their natural scent, so this game will stimulate and challenge their cognition abilities while sneaking in some physical exercise.
What is a snuffle mat, you ask? A snuffle mat is a brain game designed for dogs to exercise their minds and help them practice their natural foraging instincts. It works by filling a mat with high-value treats that your pup will scavenge through, using their nose to find them.
Not only does this kind of exercise for dogs provide mental stimulation, but if you have an overly enthusiastic eater, it can help to slow down feeding time too. If you're interested in trying one out, check out these snuffle mats:
Wondering how to exercise a puppy that can’t go outside? Obstacle courses could be your new best friend. They are an excellent way to give your pup a full-body workout while also encouraging them to use their problem-solving skills. You don't need a large yard to create an obstacle course either; you can use boxes, sticks, chairs, tables, and other household items to make your course. Make them go over some items, under others, and around some as well.
If you're looking for some suggested products to add to your obstacle course, check out these ramps and stairs to add to your set-up:
Flirt poles are one of the best ways to exercise your dog while also allowing them to practice their prey drive. A prey drive is an innate hunting instinct that many dog breeds possess, which drives them to chase, pounce, and catch potential prey. Flirt poles consist of a long pole with a toy attached to the end, which you can move around quickly to encourage your dog to chase and jump.
Using a flirt pole can help to improve your dog's speed, agility, and coordination. It’s particularly useful for breeds that were originally bred for hunting, such as terriers and hounds. If you're interested in trying out a flirt pole with your pup, check out these great options:
The best exercise for dogs is one that stimulates their mind as well as their body. Puzzle toys are a very effective way to keep your active pup mentally occupied while at home. From treat-dispensing toys to interactive boards, there are various options available that will make your pup engage their problem-solving skills.
Here are some fun puzzle toys your pup will love:
There you have it, fellow dog lovers — six easy and fun ways to exercise and mentally stimulate your beloved furball at home! Before your dog's next grooming appointment with Barkbus, we encourage you to try out some of these dog exercise activities to help tire them out and make the grooming process smoother. Practicing obedience commands like "sit" and "stay" can also be beneficial during grooming sessions, as they help keep your dog calm and focused. Plus, don’t forget to reward them with a treat for good behavior!
Ready to pamper your pup? Schedule a grooming appointment with Barkbus today, and let us take care of the rest.