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Walking your dog daily is a necessary part of dog ownership. However, despite your best efforts, life sometimes gets in the way. Maybe the weather is terrible, you’re not feeling well, or you’ve already gone on three walks and your dog is still bouncing off the walls.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help you. There are plenty of ways for your dog to get exercise without even leaving the house. Here are nine fun alternatives to walking that you and your dog will both love.
This one seems obvious, but it’s also easy to forget when you’re thinking of dog exercise options. If you’re feeling extra lazy, get a ball launcher that lets your dog play fetch on their own.
Yes, you read that right! There are dog yoga classes called Doga, or you can practice yoga with your dog in the comfort of your home. Just come armed with patience and a sense of humor, and don’t be too surprised if your dog doesn’t quite get the whole “quiet concentration” aspect.
In addition to exercise, it’s important to provide enrichment for your dog. Obstacle courses are a great source of both. The internet is full of tutorials on how to build them, from super simple ones using household objects to more sophisticated ones built from scratch.
A flirt pole is essentially a fishing pole for your dog to play with. You can purchase one, or you can build one at home with a stick, some string, and a few choice dog toys (that you don’t mind getting torn up). Just attach your dog’s favorite toy to the end of the string, and go nuts.
Disclaimer: some dogs love chasing bubbles, and others are completely indifferent to them. But if your dog falls into the former category, bubbles are a fun and inexpensive way to while away the afternoon. You can use regular non-toxic bubble solution, or get special dog bubbles that feature flavors dogs love, like peanut butter or bacon.
Make your dog work for their food, just a little. Treat puzzles and other mentally stimulating toys are a great way to provide mental enrichment for your dog and to stave off boredom. There are tons of different types of these toys, from super simple ones to more complicated models, and many of them are under $20. Just fill the toy with your dog’s favorite treats, and let your dog enjoy the challenge of finding them.
This sport is only for the most advanced dog lovers, so buckle in. Grab a blanket, turn on your favorite Netflix show (or DogTV if it’s your dog’s turn to choose), and cuddle until you lose your mind. Don’t stop cuddling until you both fall asleep, or at least until Netflix asks “are you still watching?”
Learning new tricks
Upping your training game provides great mental and physical activity for your dog. If your dog has already mastered the basics, like “sit” and “stay,” take it to the next level by introducing some new tasks. Use positive reinforcement to teach your dog some more advanced command. If your dog already knows “sit,” “stay,” and “wait,” move on to “roll over,” “speak,” or anything else you want. All you need is some good treats, some patience, and a little bit of time.
Massage can be beneficial for your dog and relaxing for both of you. It helps increase circulation, can speed up recovery from injury, and reduces anxiety. Dog massage can be a fun new skill for you to learn and is a great way to bond with your dog. Plus, it’s free!
Just watch some tutorials from qualified instructors (like vets, vet techs or certified animal massage therapists), go slowly, and pay attention to your dog’s cues.
If you need more ideas, check out more fun indoor activities for when you just don’t feel like going outside.
And of course, you can always turn to Rover when your dog needs a walk, no matter your location or level of exhaustion. Phew.