How to exercise your dog indoors

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A worn out dog makes an excellent napping partner
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Some tips on how to exercise your dog indoor to keep him healthy and worn out

There are times when you simply do not have the opportunity to take your dog out for a stroll to exercise. If you do not have the convenience of a fenced in front or back yard you cannot let the pooch out on his own because that is dangerous. He may get hit by a car, run off or be dog-napped. Aside from brief excursions out to do his business, your dog is cooped up inside.

A cooped up, bored dog can wreak havoc. He may decide to dismantle your holiday decorations or chew up your Jimmy Choos. Alternatively, he may help himself to the contents in your trash can.

Surprise, surprise when you come home and bedlam has struck.

The old adage, “A tired dog is a good dog” is very true. You’ve got to figure how to exercise your dog indoors, keeping him entertained and wearing him out. In the process, you are safeguard his health and preventing obesity -- even without the benefit of going outside on extended trips.

One simple thing that I do with my large, rambunctious, raring-to-go pooch is to swat at him. I swat at him with my hands or with my socked feet. He likes it. He thinks it’s a game. He swats back and grabs my feet and hands in his mouth. He knows better than to sink his teeth in. Make sure your dog knows the rules before you engage in the swatting game. He postures and does dog things. We swat back and forth. I make noises. He growls and within 15 minutes he’s pooped and jumps up on the couch and is zonked out before you can count to 10. It’s a very simplistic game and not one that is particularly becoming for an almost senior citizen to engage in with her dog, but it works. It wears him out. 

Toss the ball. This is basic. If you have a long hallway, or carpeted stairs, try rolling the ball. Of course, lamps and other items can be knocked over in the process but what the heck? Some dogs really like to retrieve. Throw the ball, he runs and gets it and brings it back to you. You do it repeatedly, wishing he didn’t have so much energy, but finally he will conk out. Or you will.

Play hide and seek with your dog. However, first, teach him the ‘stay’ command. Instruct him to ‘stay’ and then hide something, a doggie treat, for example, and tell him to go find the treat. This will keep him occupied for a while. As he becomes accustomed to the game, his smelling and discovery instincts will become better, and you must challenge him. Hide the treat father away and in not such an easy location to find.

Wrestle with him. Guys might be better at this than the damsel of the house but maybe not. Ladies can get down and dirty when it comes to their beloved pooches and a need to keep them occupied. Get on the floor and romp with your pet. Roll and maul each other, rub his belly, tickle his nose, tug his tail playfully. He’ll think you’re one of the guys. Oops, dogs. Dog rearing and entertaining can be a bit messy and isn’t for the weak of heart. If stray dog hairs, dog saliva and doggie breath aren’t your cup of tea then maybe you need to hire a dog walker or dog sitter, and he can do the dirty work.  

The best thing about a worn out dog, who has received sufficient exercise and stimulation during  the day, is that they make excellent bed partners. They’re warm and cuddly, snore rhythmically and sleep peacefully yet notify you of virtually any sound that is made within a mile of your house. You know that middle of the night ferocious bark that brings you out of a dead sleep, which hopefully scares off burglars and what-not, even though you are certain your scary sounding dog would simply wag his whiplash of a tail and happily greet an intruder.

And best of all, don’t worry about sleeping with your dog or letting him lick your face while you are romping or when just hanging out. According to Dr. Kate Stenske, who is a clinical assistant professor at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine, this is very typical behavior. More than half of all dog owners allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them and lick them on the face. More than 50 percent of all dog owners also share food with their dog. The research that Dr. Stenske did shows that these bonding behaviors have no association with an increase in shared E. coli. However, if a pet owner pets the animal and then doesn’t wash his hands before cooking this can increase the incidence of E. coli.


Science Daily: pet owner cleanliness

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