The following are five easy ways to increase your dog’s exercise. These tips could be used if you have a high-energy dog that needs to burn some mental and physical energy, or a dog that needs to burn a few extra calories.
Buy a backpack for your dog.
Putting a small amount of weight in the pack (such as 5 percent of the dog’s body weight) will help burn extra physical energy on walks. Not only that, but a backpack gives the dog a mental challenge by giving him a job. As your dog gets used to carrying a pack, you may be able to add a bit more weight.
Turn all potty breaks into a short walk.
Instead of just opening the door for your dog to go potty, try taking her for a 5 to 10-minute walk. Use it as an excuse to walk around the block. Even if you already take your dog for a longer walk once or twice a day, the shorter walks are an easy way to burn a few more calories. The miles will really add up over time.
Add a bit of running to your regular walks.
I assume you already walk your dog for at least 30 minutes a day. If your dog needs a bit more exercise, how about adding a small amount of running to those walks (assuming she is healthy enough to go running). It’s good for the human and the dog. You could walk for 10 minutes, run for five minutes and then walk the rest of the way home. Your dog will love it!
Play some tug.
Tug of war is a great way to drain a dog’s pent-up energy. I like to play tug with my dog for five minutes or so in the evenings while I’m watching TV. Playing tug seems to be a great stress reliever for dogs, and it’s a good way for them to work different muscles. This is also a good time to work on some of your dog’s obedience commands such as “drop it.”
Plan one longer “excursion” per week.
Once a week, try to plan an activity you and your dog normally wouldn’t do. Maybe you take a trip to the dog park. Maybe you hit up a new trail in the area. Maybe you just set aside 90 minutes on Sunday for a longer walk than normal. Whatever it is, try to come up with something different you and your dog could do together. That’s one of the reasons we have dogs, right? Getting out and about for some fun?
What are some other tips you have for increasing a dog’s exercise? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author: Lindsay Stordahl is the blogger behind ThatMutt.com. She writes about dog training, behavior, adoption and more.