Keeping your dog in good shape is one way to thank them for the unconditional love and loyalty they bring to your life.
One thing that has made this easier is the variety of high quality, specialty diets now available for your pooch.
Just like with people, the right food isn’t enough to ensure good health. An active lifestyle is critical for overall fitness. Here are some ideas for getting your dog moving without even leaving the house:
A good game of fetch can be played indoors on a rainy day. Small dogs can have almost all of their exercise needs met with this fun trick.
If your dog does not know how to play, start with a favorite toy that they enjoy rather than a ball. Play a little quick tug with the toy, then toss it nearby. Chances are your dog will go for it. When they come back with the toy, play a little more tug. Keep it fun – the tug game serves as the reward.
Add some distance over time. You can probably switch to a ball once your pup has the hang of this fun game.
If you happen to have some gym equipment at home, consider letting your dog join in on your daily workout by using the treadmill while you do other exercises.
Using small treats as rewards is the easiest and fastest way to teach your dog how to get on, use, and safely exit the treadmill. You can even teach this valuable skill without using a leash!
First, with the treadmill off, lure your dog onto the treadmill properly, rewarding only when they hop on from the back while lined up with the tread. Reward them a few times for just standing in the right position, then, practice and reward an “Off” on command.
Once your dog is entering, standing, and exiting properly, you are ready to turn the treadmill on at a slow speed, and lure your dog on. Reward for a proper mount and then a quick reward for walking a few steps. Turn the treadmill off and ask for a dismount, reward.
With patience and some practice, you can extend the duration on the machine as well as the speed. Be sure to never tie your dog onto a treadmill, and gradually extend the workout according to your dog’s fitness level.
This fun game will both mentally and physically stimulate your dog. Teaching it is easy too. Start by letting your dog watch you hide their toy and say “Find it!” in an excited tone. Be sure to make a big deal about how smart they are when they find it.
Over time you can start to make the game more challenging with tougher hiding. You can even ask your dog to wait in the other room while you hide their toy in a tricky spot. Just make sure you don’t move to fast because your dog may get frustrated.
Mathew Coulton has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of wileypup.com, a doggy lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for pet parents everywhere.