As the days get colder and wetter, those of us with active dogs need to start thinking ‘outside the square’ when it comes to providing daily exercise & stimulation.
While nothing will substitute for a big run & sniff in the great outdoors - here are some activities you can use when it’s just too wet to take your dog to the park.
If you’re lucky enough to have a multi storey home - you can use your stairs to provide short quick bursts of exercise for your dog.
And no, you’re not expected to run up and down the stairs (unless that’s your thing…)
Instead stand at the top of the stairs and throw your dogs favourite toys to the bottom and ask them to retrieve it.
It’s just like a 'beefed up' version of fetch.
Sometimes it’s not just about physical exercise. Your dog can also benefit from mental stimulation.
Why not polish up on your commands or start working on some new tricks to teach your dog.
Remember not to use a huge amount of treats for this training because the last thing your dog needs is more calories to burn off.
If you're feeling really ambitious you can teach your dog the names of their different toys with this tutorial.
BTW - you might need to turn the volume up for this video.
As you know, swimming is fantastic exercise for dogs and humans alike.
Have a quick Google to find out whether there’s an indoor or heated pool for dogs near you. It will be great fun for both of you.
Try a Treadmill:
News Flash: You don’t need a specialised dog treadmill for this - as they can be quite pricey.
Even if you don’t own a human treadmill already - they’re a staple item at garage sales around the country so you should be able to pick one up quite cheaply.
However, it’s important that you don't just plonk your dog on a human treadmill and hope for the best - instead check out this great resource for training your dog to use a human treadmill.
With more and more of these popping up around the country - maybe winter is the best time to try out your local centre?
Most owners say that their dogs get so much exercise and stimulation after a day at Doggy Daycare that they’re completely zonked when they come home.
For most dog owners, the cost for full time care is quite high - but it is a good option if you’re working long hours and the opportunity for exercise is limited.
The relaxation protocol:
The Relaxation Protocol is a series of increasingly difficult tasks that you and your dog complete.
The idea is that the dog will a) gain impulse control in a variety of situations and b) associate the mat with a place for calm, relaxed behaviour.
It's pretty fascinating and you can find out more here
Be wary of offering puzzle toys or ‘stuffing’ toys to compensate for exercise. What you’re really doing is giving your dog even more energy to burn off… and giving yourself more mess to clean up. Antlers are fat-free, mineral-rich, odourless & non-messy - so pretty much the ideal indoor chew treat.
Remember that none of these are a substitute for real, outdoorsy exercise but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to keep the peace. Whatever you do, don’t keep them cooped up inside and expect your dog not to vent their frustration.
Find out why antlers are ideal as indoor chew treats for your dog here.