Behavior Tip of the Month
I've recently had surgery and can't take my dog jogging. I know he needs exercise, but what can I do with him when I'm stuck inside the house?
You're right when you say dogs need exercise. Most dogs need 20 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 2 times a day. If we don't provide constructive outlets for our pets, they may find their own outlets. These could consist of jumping up on people, chewing our possessions and digging up the yard.
The following activities are fun, can be played inside the house and are perfect for energetic canines.
1. Bow-wow Bubbles You will need non-toxic soap bubbles and a wand. You dip the wand into the liquid and blow the bubbles over the dog's head. Most dogs love to jump up and attack these bubbles. It's good exercise and hysterical to watch.
2. Canine Car Chase If you have a child's remote control car, introduce your pup to it with the motor off (just push it around by hand). If your dog tries to follow it, praise him, Then start the motor just for a moment. If he isn't scared and follows the car, praise and pet him. Increase the car's distance slowly always stopping if the dog is scared. This can be super exercise and lots of fun. Just make sure your dog doesn't eat the remote control vehicle!
3. Smell It - Find It (from the book "Dog Tricks" by Haggerty and Benjamin) Have one person hold the dog and another person hold a dog biscuit. Let your dog smell the biscuit while you say, 'smell it'. Then take the treat away and drop it on the floor. Say, 'OK, find it" and release your dog. Praise him for eating it. Place the biscuit farther and farther away until you can put it in another room and he will "smell it" and "find it!". Keep increasing the distance and your dog will use more energy and have even more fun.
4. Fetch That Toy! This game uses 3 new sheepskin-like squeaky toys. Tease your pup with one, say "Fetch", and toss it a short distance away . If he picks it up, you run away and squeeze the second toy. Say 'give' and remove the first toy from the dog's mouth. Squeak and toss the second toy and say "Fetch". Follow the above steps with the third toy. Throw the toys further and further away. After you've played your retrieving game with each toy , put them back in the cabinet ready for the next time.
5. Soccer. Buy a lightweight beach ball. Kick it gently toward your canine. Praise him if he starts to follow or move it with his nose. In a short time, you will have a Soccer star! With a Golden Retriever sized dog, use a heavier weight ball that he can't pop.
6. Volleyball. Use the same beach ball and this time throw it up by the dog's nose or just over his head. Try putting a food smell on it. If you're lucky, he will try to jump up and reach the food smell. Praise him for touching the ball. The goal is for him to bounce the ball back to you using his nose.
7. Doggie Decathlon Agility is a new sport that is great fun for both dogs and people. Some of it you can do right in your house. If you have a hula hoop or a tire, hold them up vertically and encourage your dog to jump through them. Encourage your dog to jump over a narrow coffee table or small chair. Do this only when you use a command like "over", otherwise your dog may start jumping over everything. Cut the top and bottom out of a big cardboard refrigerator carton. Use it for a tunnel and encourage your dog to run through it.
Many dogs are bred to chase and run, it's their instinct. If they don't get exercise, they may become stressed, hyperactive and destructive. Playing games with your indoor dog can prevent that.
Happy recovery and have a "purrfect" day playing with your pup!
Woofs and wags,
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
"Positively teaching pets and their people since 1977"
Do you have a question for Carole? You can reach her at this email address - firstname.lastname@example.org Perhaps she will use it in an upcoming article on this Web site.
The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.