If you're stuck inside due to illness or bad weather, chances are good that your dog is getting cabin fever. Suddenly, they're exhibiting all kinds of out of character behavior: chasing their tail, chewing your shoes and even destroying the furniture. Sound familiar? If so, you could probably use some indoor dog exercise ideas.
Less outdoor time can be rough for an energetic pooch, but engaging them in indoor exercise for dogs is a great way to help them spend their energy and keep from getting bored.
Here are five indoor activities you and your dog can do if you're stuck inside.
With just a few weeks of practice, you can train your dog to use a treadmill, says the American Kennel Club (AKC). While some smaller dogs can use a human machine, larger dogs usually need a specialized one. Having your dog use a treadmill is a great alternative when the weather's bad or if you don't want to walk in the dark.
If you're interested in treadmill training your dog, make sure to consult your veterinarian first to ensure this exercise plan is right for your pooch.
Hide-and-seek is one of the best indoor dog exercise ideas. Not only will it provide you both with entertainment, but it's also an opportunity to engage your dog's brain and reinforce training. According to the AKC, once your dog can recognize commands to sit, stay and come, they'll be able to play hide-and-seek with you.
Here's how to do it: Bring your dog into a room in your house, then have them sit and stay. Leave the room and hide. When you're ready, call your dog's name and invite them to come find you. Reward them when they succeed.
3. Tug of War
For some dogs, a game of tug is a great way to expend their energy while bonding with their pet parent. Just be sure to let your dog win, suggests the AKC. And be aware that tug of war isn't an ideal game for every dog. If your pup tends to get overstimulated or has resource-guarding tendencies, this may not be your best option for indoor exercise.
Stairs are a great source of indoor exercise for dogs, especially if your pooch has to burn off steam in a pinch. For a dual workout, you can walk or run up and down together. Whatever you do, be sure to clear the stairs and the surrounding area in advance to ensure there are no tripping or slipping hazards. And be cautious if your dog is a dachshund or another breed with a long back and short legs, says the AKC, as stairs can be more challenging for them. Also, make sure to be careful that your dog doesn't get under your feet to prevent injury to either of you.
Consider arranging opportunities for your dog to socialize with other people and dogs. You could arrange a doggy play date with a friend's or relative's dog. Or head to a pet store and walk the aisles, letting your pooch sniff around and pick out a toy. You could even sign them up for a doggy day care session, so they can spend time with a group of dogs under the watchful eye of a pet care expert.
Regular exercise is vital for your dog to be their happiest, healthiest self. Turn to these indoor dog exercise ideas on your next snow day to help your fluffy friend keep their body and mind engaged. To avoid accidents, make sure to give your dog (and you) plenty of space, with nothing to trip over or bump into. With a little experimentation, you'll find your favorite indoor exercise to do together in no time!
Erin Ollila is a pet enthusiast who believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.