There are many ways you can get your dog to exercise without him even realizing what’s he’s doing is exercising. The best way to disguise exercise is by doing it as a team. Exercise then only seems like fun and companionship. Here are 5 ideas to consider:
1. Make exercising fun.
Play fetch with a tennis ball or a Frisbee. Interact with your wet nosed companion so he sees this activity involves both of you and it’s loads of fun. If you have kids, allow them to join in as well. Make it a family affair. And praise your dog when he/she catches or retrieves the balls and Frisbees. You can even purchase a ball shooter if you have a large yard for your dog to run across. Your dog will feel rewarded with the praise he receives. This will encourage him to continue playing.
You might try buying a remote control toy that will intrigue your dog to the point of chasing it. He will be excited with the sounds and lights of the toy. This will be an exciting and new activity that can be enjoyed indoors regardless of the weather outdoors.
2. Get a second dog as a companion.
If you have an older dog that might be slacking off on his physical activity, you might consider adopting a younger dog to encourage your older dog to step up his pace. Dogs can learn from other dogs as they witness how exercising and play gets done. You might have a neighbor, family member, or friend with whom you can plan a doggie play date if you cannot commit to another dog on a full time basis. Together they can observe one another and learn ways of interacting and playing.
3. Visit a dog park.
If a second dog is not currently in the cards, take your pooch to a dog park to play with a variety of other dogs. He will be able to witness other dogs playing, jumping, running, and chasing other dogs. Some dog parks have obstacle courses for your dog to practice his jumping and running. Large, open, grassy areas in a dog park encourage dogs to run free.
4. Plan a beach day!
Most dogs love to run in and out of the water. At the beach there are waves to chase, other dogs to play with, birds to chase, and warm sand to play in. The cool breeze and change of scenery will encourage your dog to get out there, let loose, and enjoy himself. If there’s no beach in your part of the country, get your dog to go swimming in a backyard pool. Some cities even have dog swimming pools. It’s incredible to see your dog respond to other swimming dogs. If neither a beach or pool is available, try running through the sprinkler with your dog. He’ll enjoy cooling off in the hotter temperatures, have fun, and also burn calories.
5. Embark upon a scavenger hunt!
Dogs are motivated by food and are instinctively programmed to hunt for it. They enjoy the thrill of the hunt. So why not let him work a little for his food with an indoor hunt. Let him see you throw several treats around a particular room. Then tell him to go find it. Praise him each time he finds a treat. There are also treat-hiding puzzles and dog toys that treats can be tucked into. Getting to the treat takes work and ingenuity from your dog. He will enjoy working for his food as he does his best to figure out how to get to it.