Amy Mishima's Happy Dog Owner Blog

Great Ideas On How To Exercise Your Dog Indoors

Dogs need their daily dose of exercise no matter what the circumstances are like outside.  And this winter has surely caused several cases of cabin fever for our furry friends. 

When we visit our dog walking and dog running clients in the winter but are forced to cut short the outside activities because of extreme temperatures, we continue the exercise inside.  Here are some of the ways we keep our dogs active indoors and you can do them, too.


1.  Play fetch.

Chances are if your dog likes to play fetch outside, they will love playing fetch inside.  This is a great activity for owners with a long hallway or staircase.  Not only is this a great workout for your dog, but it’s a good opportunity to work on basic obedience commands.  When he grabs the ball or toy and is running back to you, say “come.”  Once they return, ask them to “drop it.”  Have them “sit” before you throw the ball again.


2.  Teach them advanced tricks.

Sure, your dog might already know the basic commands, but why not have some fun with it?  Tricks like “spin”, “ back”, “bow”, or even teaching them to retrieve something for you by name (like a pair of slippers, tissue paper, or a newspaper) are all challenging and fun.  Teaching your dog new tricks isn’t only a great way keep them mentally stimulated, but it’s also a terrific bonding activity for the two of you.   


3.  Work on targeting.

Targeting is just the act of touching something.  Dogs can learn to touch with any body part, but nose is an easy starting point.  Teach your dog to touch their nose to your hand on command.  This is a great skill and can help with teaching them new tricks; or even everyday things like getting on the scale at the veterinarians office or redirecting their attention to you if they become overexcited seeing another dog during a walk. 


4.  Play Hide and Seek.

You can play this in two ways.  If your dog has a few favorite toys, try hiding them in various spots throughout the house.  Once everything is hidden, ask your dog to find each of them.  You may have to start with just one toy.  Show your dog the toy, let them get really excited about it, ask them to sit and stay, then place 10 feet away or so.  When you release them from the stay, tell them to “go find it” so they learn the command and associate it with the action.  As your dog gets more familiar with this, you can start placing the toy further and further away.


If there’s more than one person at home, everyone can play.  Everyone should grab a handful of treats.  Each of you should try hiding in different spots of the house and take turns calling your dog once you are hidden.  When they find you, give them lots of praise and reward them with treats.  Now, the next person can call your dog and you can find another hiding spot. 


5.  Invest in a treat dispensing toy….you won’t regret it!

Speaking of new toys, treat dispensing toys are an amazing tool for giving your dog a mental workout and to alleviate canine boredom.  Your dog stays busy pushing around the toy trying to get the treats inside.  The toy motivates and rewards your dog all on its own!


Need some help letting your pooch burn off energy?  Call Dogs Love Running! of Elmhurst and we’ll schedule a dog walker to exercise your dog no matter what it’s like outside.  If you’d prefer the visit to remain indoors due to a certain type of weather condition, we will make sure to still provide your pooch with heart-pounding exercise and fun.  We guarantee your dog will be smiling and panting by the end of our visit. 

About the Author John Reh

John started the Dogs Love Running! pet care service in 2008 to help dogs live longer and behave better. The DLR! team has since helped over 2,000 clients and completed over 225,000 pet care visits. We love dogs!

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