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DogsHealthToysHow do I exercise my dog when I barely have time to go to gym myself?

Keeping oneself physically active is hard work. You get up early and get ready for work, brave traffic, get to your workplace, sit at your desk, and put your brain to work all day. Then, you get back on the road and brave the traffic back home, managing to avoid fits of road rage on a good day. By the time you’re home, you’re running on fumes but you still have dinner and maybe some family time to think about. Before you know it, it’s bedtime and just like that another day without exercise goes by and you watch your fitness goals drifting further and further away. Now add a pet that depends on you for exercise into an already busy routine. It seems impossible to help your pet to get exercise, right? How are you supposed to take your dog for a walk when you barely have time? You’re left wondering how on earth am I supposed to keep my dog fit if I can’t get time for exercise myself?

If you’ve asked yourself that question, guess what? You’re in good company because you’re not alone. Look, we can’t all be like CrossFit Craig or CrossFit Claire who have 5am gym sessions followed by an hour long walk with their dog everyday like their life depends on it. If you’re not able to take your dog for walks or exercise at the dog park daily, there’s good news. There are plenty of creative ways that you can help your dog stay active even with a super busy schedule. Here are five ways to keep your dog active on a busy schedule:

1. Create an obstacle course indoors

You have probably seen some cool Facebook or YouTube videos of some dog hopping and crawling up, down, and around furniture. If you haven’t yet, we would one hundred per-cent recommend that you do because the cuteness of it is unbearable. But cuteness is not the only benefit of these doggy obstacle courses.  Not only does setting up an obstacle course for your dog keep them physically active; it also gives your dog a mental workout. You don’t need a huge lounge, outdoor space, or a professional to set up your dog’s obstacle course. Simple household items like brooms, hula-hoops, blankets, and your furniture are all you need to make tunnels, ramps and weaving obstacles. You can include some treats at come checkpoints in the obstacle course to encourage your dog’s maximum participation. Warning- if you capture your dog breezing their way through your DIY obstacle course, your dog just might become an internet sensation.

2. Hide and seek

Food is a great incentive. Did you know that you can get your dog exercising by literally playing with their food? Playing hide and seek with dog treats is a great way to get your dog moving.  It’s also yet another great way to mentally stimulate your dog as they use their nose to search for their treats. To keep some variety, you can change the hiding places of the treats each time.

If you want to get involved in the fun, you can play hide and seek with your dog. You can make your dog sit or stay and then you can dash off and hide. By asking your dog to sit or stay whilst you run off to hide, you are actually enforcing obedience training in a really creative way. Once you’re in your hiding place, you can call your dog to you. Remember, food is a great incentive so you can add to the fun by giving your dog a treat when they find you. You know that sweet satisfaction you get from finding money in a pair of jeans? Well, your dog feels the same when they find you and the treat. And just like that, you can give your dog a fun exercise and keep them active through a simple game of hide and seek.

3. Puzzle toys

Puzzle toys can keep your dog busy and active for ages. The mental stimulation that a lot of puzzle toys offer can get your dog moving. Sure, it might not offer your dog an intense cardio exercise, but it keeps your dog active and busy, nonetheless. Depending on the type of puzzle, your dog can be kept active by pawing, tugging, and maneuvering around the house with their puzzle toy. Puzzles are a fun and low maintenance way to get your dog ecstatic and moving, even when you’re not able to take them for an intense cardio exercise yourself.

4. Training

What if we told you that there is a way to get your dog exercising whilst simultaneously getting them to do chores around the house? Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not. Two words—obedience training.  You can teach your dog to bring things to you like house slippers. You can also teach your dog to put some toys away and to tidy up after themselves. Obedience training requires your dog to get moving. It can take a while before your dog masters the commands which means with every try, your dog will be moving and active. Just imagine it; your dog getting exercise by learning to do new tricks, some of which can be household chores. Now that’s a win win.

5. Doggy Daycare

You might have heard that famous saying – “ If you can’t get something done, hire someone else to do it”. Okay so maybe it’s not exactly a famous saying, but it could be the answer to your problems. If you’re not able to help your dog get exercise because of a busy schedule, you can pay for someone else to do it. Sending your dog to doggy daycare can offer your dog the physical activity that you may not be able to. A lot of daycares offer outdoors play, agility games, and a myriad of other physical activities. You drop your dog off once or a few times a week and pick them up after they have had a full day of play and physical activities under supervised care.

 

Physical activity is important for your dog. It is recommended that your dog gets anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours of physical activity a day. Of course, this varies depending on your dog’s age, health and breed. Some dogs need far more physical activity than others. Are you having some trouble helping your dog get physical activity? If you are, then you can speak to one of our vets or behaviourists to help you figure out how you can meet your dog’s exercise needs on a busy schedule.

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