Dogs need a lot of stimulation so that they don’t become bored, stressed, and depressed. What are we to do when we aren’t able, or willing, to get outside to walk our furry friends? Is it ok to not walk your dog? Sometimes we don’t have the choice. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your pooch and keep them stimulated and active in the home.
Anything that combines exercise, mental stimulation and bonding with their human can work to replace walking. Some simple alternatives that work well include:
- Playing Fetch
- Obstacle Courses
- Using A Flirt Pole
- Treat Puzzles
- Learning New Tricks
All your dog wants is your time. If we spend some quality time with our pups and use a little creativity, there are a lot of ways to keep a spunky dog active and content. So, if you’ve found yourself wondering, “What do you do if you can’t walk your dog?”, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we will go into a bit more detail on our list of alternatives to walking and trust me – they’re all worth trying!
Does Playing With Your Dog Count As Exercise?
It sure does! In fact, you may find that your dog prefers playtime over walks. This can be especially true with large breeds that can have a harder time on long walks. As long as you can get your pooch moving around and get them engaged in the activity, that is exercise.
It not only stimulates their body and helps them burn off some of the calories, but it also stimulates their mind. Let’s take a closer look at some ways that you and your dog can get some much-needed stimulation.
Is it ok not to walk your dog? Yes – Try Fetch!
Fetch is the original dog game. You’ll most likely find that your dog has some existing instinctual knowledge of the game already. Most dogs will naturally, and happily chase something thrown by their owner, and return with the prize. All you need is something to throw, preferably something soft, like a tennis ball or a rope toy.
Now, you may need to work on getting them to drop the toy once they’ve retrieved it. Or you may need to work on getting them to bring it back at all. These added opportunities for training are good. It gives you and your dog something to work on. Think of it as a sort of puzzle you can work on together
Setting Up An Obstacle Course
All you need is a yard, and if you don’t have that, a hallway can work just as well. Dogs are inclined to explore and serve. By constructing obstacles for them to get around, climb over or jump through, you are stimulating body and mind.
You don’t need to spend money to start a DIY obstacle course either. Get creative with what you’ve got lying around the house. Using tables, benches, or even a broom and chairs can be quite fun to start.
It’s pretty easy to set up a few ramps for them to run up and down, a hoop for them to hop through, and a tunnel that they can sprint through at top speed. The great thing about an obstacle course is you can constantly change them up, allowing for a never-ending source of fun challenges for you and your companion.
Behold, The Flirt Pole
A flirt pole might just be one of the easiest, most fun, and cost-effective dog toys ever conceived.
Think of it just like a giant cat toy. You’ve got a long stick that you hold onto and a rope attached to the end of that. At the end of the rope, you’ve guessed it, a tantalizing dog toy. And it works in exactly the same way as a cat toy. Drag it across the ground, dangle it in the air, run and let them give chase.
There are a bunch of games and training exercises that you can do with just a flirt pole, in the living room or in the yard. This article does a great job of showing you how to make your own, and a bunch of different ways to get into the flirt pole game.
Puzzles And Peanut Butter Are Your Friends
Dogs love to solve problems. This is especially true when the solution leads to peanut butter. One of the easiest ways to keep a dog mentally stimulated for hours at a time is with a Kong Classic Dog Toy, just like this one. It is simple, really. You take a good amount of peanut butter and smear it on the inside of the tough rubber toy.
Your dog will go nuts as he tries to get his tongue into every nook and cranny to get to that sweet treat. You can also jam other treats, like cheese, meat, or crunchy treats into a kong and watch as your dog tries to fish those out.
And, once your dog has mastered the art of slurping peanut butter from their kong toy, you can move on to more intricate puzzles. There are a ton of different puzzle toys on the market with a wide range of difficulty levels for your dog’s growing inquisitive mind. There are also a bunch of DIY puzzle toys you can easily make for a fraction of the price. Check some out here.
Learn New Tricks
Despite the old saying, it is never too late to teach your dog some new tricks. Dogs love to bond with their humans. What better way to bond than to learn something new together. A bored dog is a stressed dog, and stressed dogs can act out destructive and develop health problems.
By spending some quality, constructive time with your dog, they are getting a big dose of exercise and mental stimulation, all while pleasing their favorite person!
All you need is a trick to learn, something to motivate your pup, like treats, affection, or a clicker, and your time.
Different dogs respond to different rewards, so you may need to find what gets your dog most excited. One dog may lose their mind over a piece of cheese while another prefers affirmation and tummy scratches.
Thanks to the internet, you’ll never be at a loss for new tricks to learn and how best to teach them. Spending active quality time with your pet is a great, free bonding exercise that will leave you with a content, satisfied pooch.
There are Other Ways to Have Fun
Let’s be real, sometimes it is just too much of a hassle to leave the house, regardless of whether you’re taking the dog for a walk or not. Times are tough, and sometimes you just don’t want to put on real clothes. Perhaps your dog is just a horrible walker, barking and pulling and being difficult. Don’t let it get you down.
What Do You Do if You Can’t Walk Your Dog?
There’s no reason to feel guilty since there are a bunch of different ways to keep your dog happy without leaving your house. Whether you have playtime in the living room with your flirt pole or you set up a giant obstacle course in your backyard, your dog will be lucky to have such a caring human.
Don’t forget that it is fine to have a day where you and your furry friend cuddle on the couch and binge show all day. It’s doubtful your dog will complain about that.