If you are among the 63% of dog owners in America, you likely know how important exercise is for your pup. But when an unexpected tragedy like a pandemic or a snowstorm prevents you from venturing outdoors, you need to think outside the box about inside workouts for your pooch — especially if you live in an apartment community. Fortunately, great workouts can occur in small living spaces! Below are five simple ways to exercise your dog inside your apartment.
Five great ways to exercise your dog inside your apartment
“Dogs thrive on social engagement and exploring smells, sights, and sounds. They are used to getting those needs met outside, so we have to up our game and provide extra stimulation indoors with scent games, fetch, tug, etc.” – Robert Haussmann, Canine Behavior Consultant and Co-founder of Dogboy NYC
As a devoted dog owner, it is up to you to make use of the space and resources in your apartment. Petplan Veterinarian Dr. Kim Smyth recommends that you “find an activity you and your dog both enjoy and work it into your daily routine.” Here are five fun, simple, and cost-effective ways to ensure that your dog receives sufficient exercise inside your apartment.
1) Play hide and seek
“It can be fun for you and your dog to play Hide and Seek much like you would with a child. Find a hiding space where your dog cannot see you but can hear you such as behind a piece of furniture…When your dog finds you, you can give him some treats and some praise.” – SPCA of Texas
You may have to travel back in time to remember your last game of hide and seek. Deemed by many adults and kids to be the “Best game ever,” hide and seek can also provide hours of entertainment for your dog inside. In addition to getting your pup moving, a few games of hide and seek will sharpen your dog’s problem-solving abilities and listening skills. Training your dog to play hide and seek is as easy as one-two-three!
- One: Set up a “home base”. Tell your dog to “sit” and “stay” on the home base. Your dog’s bed is a great home base.
- Two: Go find a hiding spot. To boost your dog’s confidence, make sure your first hiding spot is a pretty easy one.
- Three: Call your dog. You can use a simple command like, “Come!” or “Ready!”. You may need to give a periodic whistle to help your dog find you.
- Bonus: Praise your dog upon finding you! And once your dog masters the game, you can begin to choose hiding spots that are a bit more difficult!
2) Try some indoor fetch
If dogs could talk or complete surveys, we would probably discover that “Fetch” is a crowd favorite among canine apartment residents! And once you introduce your dog to the concept of “Indoor Fetch,” you will likely find your dog bringing you their ball or fetch toy on a regular basis.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t necessarily need a lot of space to play fetch. You can use your hallway, great room, or stairwell (if you live in a two-story apartment) as your “Fetching Ground.” Remember to keep your dog’s ball or other favorite fetch toy safely stored in a cupboard or closet between games.
3) Schedule some treadmill time
If you have a treadmill in your apartment, you can make the most of your exercise equipment by teaching your dog how to use your treadmill. This may seem like a bit of a challenge to some dog owners but training your dog to use your treadmill is easier than you might think. Here are some training tips for you and your dog inside:
- Step One: Have your dog watch you while you walk on your treadmill for a few minutes. Talk to your dog as you walk to boost excitement.
- Step Two: Place your dog on the treadmill to allow them to get comfortable as they stand on it.
- Step Three: Start the treadmill using the lowest speed possible so your dog can get accustomed to the movement.
- Step Four: Gradually increase the speed as your dog becomes more comfortable on the treadmill.
There are two important things to remember about this form of exercise: First, you should always be on hand to supervise your dog’s treadmill workout. And second, you may need to be patient, as some dogs can initially be a bit startled when the belt begins moving. Finally, remember to reward your dog with praise or a treat after completing a treadmill work out!
4) Challenge your dog to a game of tug of war
A good old-fashioned game of tug of war offers a great combination of fun and exercise for you and your dog inside! Whether you are apartment-bound during a thunderstorm or looking for some fun while staying at home, just pull out your dog’s favorite tug of war toy and let the games begin!
If you are running short on strong, durable tug of war toys, DogLab lists the four best tug of war toys for dogs. And if you are bound to your apartment, you can place your order online and look forward to your delivery!
5) End the day with a game of, “Hide the Treat”
“Hide the Treat” shares some similarities with hide and seek. However, the game has an extra sweet ending for your pooch! Instead of teaching your dog to track you down in your apartment, you can train your dog to use their nose to uncover treats that you hide throughout a designated space in your apartment.
In addition to exercising your dog’s legs, this game will keep your dog’s olfactory senses sharp and will even help them learn to count. You can start by showing your dog three small treats then telling your dog to “Sit” on their home base while you strategically hide the three treats. Be sure to remember your hiding spots so you can give your dog a “hint” if they struggle a bit.
The Bottom Line
Exercise is not just beneficial to your dog, it is essential to helping your dog live a long, healthy life. When you can’t get out, you need some good ways to exercise your dog inside!