Your dog needs daily exercise to stay fit, healthy and out of mischief. Energetic dogs with no release for that energy can decide the couch is a great chew toy. But sometimes weather, illness or other obstacles make it difficult to get outside for a walk or trip to the dog park. When you and your pooch are stuck indoors, you can still tire Fido out with some vigorous interaction. Toys can keep a dog's mind occupied, but to really wear him out, you need to get physical.
Sure, fetch is most fun outdoors. But if your dog is a tennis-ball-aholic, and isn't large, you can give him an indoor workout. Clear away any scatter rugs, small furniture and decorations, and then sit at one end of the hallway or your largest room. Gently toss Rover's ball across the floor and keep the game going until he's tired of returning the ball. To avoid potential damage to furniture, use a plush ball or one covered with felt.
Many dogs love a good play-growling session of tug-of-war. Get out Rover's favorite rope or pull toy, and have at it with a rousing session of this canine classic. Make it more fun for your dog by periodically releasing your hold on the rope, or stand on one end of the pull toy and let Fido try to pull you across the floor. Though tug-of-war is fine for most dogs, if yours tends to be aggressive or has problems with dominance, this is a game to avoid.
Fido needs to eat and needs exercise, so why not combine the two? Instead of filling his bowl as usual, hide pieces of kibble around the house and let him use his nose to search out breakfast. This not only gives your dog physical exercise, it also provides mental stimulation. Put pieces of kibble under the table, along the walls, under a crumpled towel or behind a door. If you have stairs, add to the exercise by placing kibbles up the steps. You don't want to damage your furniture, so keep food away from upholstery, antique rugs or anything breakable or easily stained.
Laser light toys are often marketed to cat owners, but many dogs go crazy for them as well. If your dog enjoys trying to catch the elusive dot of red light, keep him on the run for several minutes to wear him out. Choose your largest room for the game, and move small furniture, loose rugs or breakable collectibles out of the way before you begin. Get Rover running in circles, doing laps around the coffee table or sprints down the hallway. When he calls time out for a drink, the game is over.
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