Exercising the Dog Indoors

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The harsh winter weather in my upstate New York community often times makes it difficult, if not impossible, to walk the dog. Today there are wind chills of -5° to -15°; temperatures that make long-term exposure unsafe for me and my dog. My dog Bella is a 16 month old pointer and hound mix. Exercising this extremely active dog daily is a must! Here are some indoor activities I use to help her burn off some of that energy.

Cheese ball. This is my dog’s favorite game. I take a thin slice of cheese (1/4 inch) and cut it up into tiny pieces. I then throw a ball and reward Bella each time she brings it back. If your dog can’t have cheese, you can use some other type of food that can be broken into small pieces. Sometimes I use small bits of Nudges (jerky treats made in the USA). My dog goes wild over the duck flavored ones. I find I can usually keep Bella occupied for a good half hour with this game.

Chase. This can be played in two different ways. The first option involves getting my dog revved up so she starts running when I chase after her. My husband is a master at this. He starts by making slow Tai Chi like movements enhanced by ninja type sound effects. Bella is up and running in no time!

The second option involves motivating the dog to chase after you. I usually grab a favorite toy or treat and start running all over the house. Sometimes I tell Bella to stay while I hide. I then tell her to come and reward her when she finds me. Other things that get my dog moving are the vacuum and the FURminator tool (she runs in circles when she sees both).

Brain games. While physical activity is great, dogs also need mental stimulation. When the weather prevents you from walking the dog, take advantage of that time to teach your pal a few new tricks. There are a multitude of YouTube video tutorials that can help you learn the basics. Also consider purchasing some interactive toys. Amazon.com has a great selection. Click here to view some options.

Make a date. Invite a neighborhood dog over for a play date. Play dates are not only great for getting your dog to exercise, but they help with socialization.

Use these suggestions, and before you know it, you will have one pooped pup! Until next time, happy homemaking!

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