How Can I Provide Indoor Exercise For My Dog?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Hryshchyshen Serhii/Shutterstock

Exercise and physical activities are very important for a dog, no matter their breed or size. Sometimes, however, going outside to play is not an option – it can be bad weather, lack of safe outdoor spaces, or anything else that prevents you from taking your pooch out of the house. But that doesn’t mean your pooch won’t get a chance to burn off that excess energy – there are many different ways to exercise a dog indoors. Indoor exercise for your dog is a great way to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, but you need to choose activities that won’t result in a broken vase or a frustrated dog – here are some ideas on indoor-friendly exercises for dogs you can try out with your four-legged bestie. 

Providing Indoor Exercise for Your Dog

Every owner’s – and every dog’s – experience in the home is different. There are a lot of factors that can dictate the type of indoor  play: the size of the home, the layout of the rooms, the age of the owner and the dog, and many other things. It’s important to have in mind that it is always possible to play inside, all you have to do is tweak the activities according to your own needs and preferences! 

  • Interactive toys: Invest in interactive toys such as treat-dispensing puzzles, Kong toys, or puzzle balls. These toys require your dog to work for their treats or food, keeping them engaged and mentally stimulated. Sound-emitting toys,  such as this one, can also be a great way to pass time in play. We love it because it’s very sturdy and durable (and keeps dogs engaged for quite a while!) while dogs love it for the enticing giggles it produces. 

  • Tug-of-war: Play a game of tug-of-war with your dog using a sturdy rope or tug toy. This activity helps burn energy and provides a physical workout. Provided you have enough strength to counter them, of course – you might be surprised how tough your pooch is, no matter their size.

  • Hide and seek: Hide treats or toys around your house and encourage your dog to find them. This game engages their sense of smell and provides the mental stimulation they need to stay sharp for years to come. 

  • Game of fetch: Choose a soft toy or a lightweight ball suitable for indoor play and play fetch with your dog in a suitable area of your home. Be mindful of fragile objects and clear any obstacles to prevent accidents.

  • Stair exercises: If you have stairs in your home, you can utilize them for a mini workout. Throw a toy or treat up the stairs, encouraging your dog to run up and down to retrieve it. This activity can help burn energy and provide cardiovascular exercise.

  • Obstacle course: Create a mini obstacle course using household items such as cushions, boxes, or hula hoops. Train your dog to navigate through the course, jump over hurdles, or weave between objects. This activity helps improve their agility and coordination. Of course, you don’t have to improvise, as there are great premade options such as this  indoor dog agility training kit. Provided that you have enough free room in your house, this nifty little indoor obstacle course will give your pet the quality physical and mental workout they need.

  • Indoor obedience training: Incorporate indoor obedience training sessions into your dog's exercise routine. Teach them new commands, work on their obedience skills, or practice tricks. Mental stimulation through training can be tiring for dogs.

  • Treadmill exercise: If you have a treadmill and your dog is comfortable using it, you can train them to walk or jog on the treadmill. Make sure to introduce them to the treadmill gradually and always supervise them during the exercise.

Remember that even with indoor exercise, dogs still need regular outdoor walks and playtime whenever possible. The activities mentioned above are supplemental and should not replace outdoor exercise entirely. Always consider your dog's breed, age, and health condition when determining the appropriate level of exercise. After all, everyone needs fresh air, sun, the company of others, and some of those bright blue skies high above. You can’t get that cooped up indoors.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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