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5 Fun Indoor Exercises for High Energy Dogs

woman yoga exercising with a white lab dog beside her

Have a High Energy Dog But Can't Get Outside To Play?

Giving your high-energy dog the proper amount of exercise can sometimes be a challenge. Between work, family, bad weather and curfews, it's not always possible to squeeze in that extra walk for your dog outside. Not to mention, some high-energy dogs require a little more attention and activity in order to burn off their energy.

Now that we've all been told to stay indoors, there are a few new tricks we need to learn to keep our pets occupied. Don't worry though, we've got you covered: keep reading to discover why exercise is a must for your four-legged friend and ways in which you can give them a good workout indoors.

The Importance of Exercise and Healthy Weight for Dogs

Every dog needs proper exercise to live a happy, healthy life. Exercise will also help your dog maintain a healthy weight, which raises life expectancy and reduces the risk of your dog developing diseases and ailments such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Kidney Disease
  • Respiratory Disease

But there are even more benefits for your furry friend.

Exercise can:

Nourish Your Bond

You may be tempted to gain your dog's love with plenty of treats, but affection and playtime are much more important to your pooch. Plus, exercise is far better for your dog's health than treats.

Encourage Better Obedience

High energy dogs can be especially difficult to train. When your dog doesn't have a good way to burn off the extra pep in their step, they may find something not-so-good to do instead. Exercise will help your dog avoid destructive behavior. Having a stronger bond through exercise will also encourage your pup's obedience. 

Help Increase Life Expectancy

Exercise helps keep your dog's body strong and their weight in check, which will prolong your canine's life span. According to a study done by the University of Liverpool and Mars Petcare's Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, dogs who maintain a healthy weight live more than two years longer than overweight dogs.

Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety is felt by many humans and dogs alike. Lack of exercise can increase anxiety, but the ideal amount of it reduces anxiety. Just as going for a walk can help clear our head, your dog will be much happier after a good workout.

Raise Endorphins

Exercise is not a painstaking task for your happy pal. In fact, it’s loads of fun especially when they get to bond with their favorite human. Exercise leads to a happy dog. 

Provide Mental Stimulation

Though it’s a lot of physical work, exercise is also good for mental stimulation. This helps prevent your dog from getting bored, which can lead to sadness or bad behavior. 

Is Your Pal a High-Energy Dog Breed?

Although every dog can be considered high-energy, there are a few breeds that are notoriously so. Generally, dogs that have been bred for work, sport, hunting, or herding tend to be the most high-energy. These include:

  • Border Collie
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Siberian Husky
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Poodle
  • Australian Shepard
  • Dalmatian
  • Boxer

Indoor Exercises for High Energy Dogs

If you're wondering how to tire out a dog, these indoor exercises will help you learn how. These activities are also great for bad weather days or simply burning some extra calories while indoors. And here’s the bonus; as a human, you also get an opportunity to boost your own fitness! 

1. Hide & Seek

Keep your dog active and entertained with a fun game of hide & seek. Have your dog sit and stay while you find a place to hide. Once you're ready, call your dog to come find you. This will give your dog both physical and mental exercise.

2. Indoor Obstacle Course

Enjoy your own private dog show with an indoor obstacle course. Have your dog run under tables and jump over chairs or toys. 

You can rearrange your couches to create a maze and make tunnels with blankets in-between furniture. There are endless ways to make a fun course for your pup. Plus, your dog may learn some new tricks along the way. 

3. Play Tug-of-War and Fetch

With a durable toy, you can combine two active games into a fun exercise. In a decently-sized area, alternate playing fetch and tug-of-war with your dog. Each time your dog returns with the toy, spend some time playing tug-of-war before having your dog release the toy to fetch again. This will keep your dog's brain and muscles stimulated.

4. Keep the Toy Just Out of Reach

A doggie flirt pole, a fun toy attached to a string on a pole, is one of the best indoor toys to get your dog's blood pumping. All you have to do is wave the pole around while your dog chases the toy. Once the toy is caught, have your dog drop it and start again. This is perfect for tiring out your dog without get yourself tired too. 

5. Puppy Push Ups

If your dog has difficulty standing, weak legs, or joint pain, it's especially important for them to exercise. Strengthen your dog's legs by having them go from laying down to sitting and then to standing repeatedly.

If all three commands are too difficult for your dog, you can simply do 'sit and stand' (skip laying down), so there will be less stress on their joints.

Getting your dog to walk backwards as you walk towards them also gets them moving in a different way then usual which strengthens different parts of their muscles.

How Much Exercise is Right?

It is generally recommended that dogs receive 30 minutes to two hours of exercise daily. The right amount for your dog depends on breed, age, and health. 

If you have a high-energy puppy, they won't benefit from taking a long walk. Instead, take a few short walks and several play sessions throughout the day. On the other hand, if your adult or senior dog has a medical condition or joint pain, it's important not to overdo exercise. It's beneficial to consult your vet on how best to give your dog the proper amount of exercise. 

If you notice your dog repeatedly trying to get you to play, it may be a sign that they need more exercise. Dogs who are difficult to train or are being destructive aren't bad dogs, just bored. This is usually another sign that they need more exercise. Also, if your dog seems to be excessively barking for no reason or playing at bedtime, you may need to squeeze in more daily exercise to tire them out. 

A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog

Indoor dog exercises are a great way to have a healthy dog. When your dog is healthy, it will live a longer and happier life.

If you opt to use toys for some of your dog's indoor exercises, remember to choose safe, durable options. Choose toys that are appropriately sized for your dog. Also, don’t forget to reward good actions with extra play instead of extra treats.

Although working out your pup indoors is great for cold or rainy days, burning extra energy, or when you just can't go outside, it shouldn't replace regular activity outdoors. Taking your dog out for a daily walk or jog is important for their overall health. 

Adding indoor exercises along with outdoor exercises will help your high-energy dog burn off the extra zest. More importantly, you'll be helping your dog stay in shape and live longer.

A healthy diet and lots of love, along with proper exercise and maintained weight will give your dog the best life they deserve.

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