Are you looking for alternative ways to give your dog or cat more exercise? Here’s a list of creative and fun ways to get your companion animal moving, and you’ll never be bored either!
Walking and Jogging
While walking or jogging with your dog may not be a novel form of exercise, it’s a different story when you add obedience to the mix. Try making surprise stops to work on “sit” and “stay” commands, or practice heeling with a pocket of treats. You can even teach your dog hand signals, which is helpful for aging dogs losing their hearing.
Hide and Seek
This is a great game to get kids involved in. While one person hangs onto the dog, another person hides around the house or yard. When your dog successfully finds someone, it gets a reward. Hide and seek offers both mental and physical stimulation for your dog, which is ideal.
Pass the Pet
If you have friends or neighbors who have pets too, this is a fun activity, and it helps shy dogs or puppies get better socialized. Sit in a circle or stand in a line with your own pet. After five minutes of visiting and obedience work, pass your pet to the next person and take a turn with someone else’s dog. Just be sure to keep the group calm, so your dogs don’t get over-excited by all the different people.
Hiding a treat and having your pet find it can be engaging for both dogs and cats. You can pop a biscuit under a doormat or hide a chewie beneath your cat’s bed. There are also toys on the market that you can fill with treats. When your pet rolls them around on the floor, the treats fall out, rewarding their curiosity.
Obstacle Course and Agility Work
Obstacle course work is perfect for helping your dog become more confident, coordinated, athletic, and attentive. While you can set up an obstacle course in your own yard, complete with teeter-totters and weave poles, you can also enroll in agility classes at dog training centers. There, you’ll learn how to perform agility in a competitive fashion. Agility work is also a good base if you want to train your dog for service work, like search and rescue.
Cats love obstacle courses too! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create your own kitty obstacle course at home, with either ready-made cat trees or a wall of perches in a spare room or garage. You can make a cat climbing wall with any of the following:
Large PVC pipe
Wooden fruit or wine crates
If you’ve never used a laser pointer with your pets, get ready for them to go crazy. Letting them chase and “catch” the light is a thrill for them and a perfect solution to exercise both dogs and cats in a small space. Be careful not to shine the laser pointer in your pet’s eyes, however. Animals can get a bit obsessed with this game, so it’s not for those with OCD.
For the mellower dog or one with degenerative joint disease, why not include them in your yoga routine. You can practice “sit,” “up,” and “down,” as well as work on stretching and relaxing. Dog-human yoga is also perfect when your pet is recovering from surgery and needs to work slowly on getting up and down and may not be able to do much more. Try essential oils to enhance the experience!
What pet doesn’t love bubbles? This is another great activity for cats and dogs. You can even buy bubbles that have scents made for pets. To really give your pooch some exercise, get a battery-powered bubble wand and head to the yard, so your dog can let loose giving the bubbles chase.
Cat toys have come a long way since jingly balls and cloth mice. You’ll be amazed at the array of feathered wands and chase toys you can find today. Experiment to see what your cat likes best, but know that many cats like a variety, so they don’t get bored with one toy. Look for toys you can get your cat to run after, capitalizing on its natural prey drive.
Around the House
You don’t have to go outdoors to walk your dog or cat. Simply put your pet on a leash and take them with you around the house while you do your day-to-day activities. Don’t forget to incorporate some obedience work during your time together. Walking around the house is the perfect option for many pets:
Cats that can’t go outdoors
Puppies that get into trouble when your back is turned
Dogs that need extra bonding
Pets that desire stimulation when the weather is bad
Dogs that could use extra work on manners
Senior dogs and dogs with mobility limitations
Do you have more questions about how to give your pet the right amount and type of exercise? Contact Cross Creek Animal Medical Centre today. We’re happy to help all pet owners keep their four-legged friends healthy and well-exercised.