If you are a lazy dog owner, or
have a dog with much higher energy levels than you, or
are physically unable to exercise your dog for some reason, or
are simply too busy and can’t find the time
it is still critical that your dog gets the much needed physical and mental exercise they need to stay fit, maintain a healthy weight and prevent boredom to be happy, healthy and prevent destructive behaviors.
It is a fact; most excessive barking, chewing, jumping, digging and running away behavioral problems are caused by boredom and pent-up energy. It’s like living with a time bomb! You never know when it will go off…or how much damage it will do. The cost isn’t just in terms of property as the cost to your dog’s psychological health and ultimately physical health could cost you a lot more in vet costs and dog trainers to fix their behavioral problems.
Dogs need stimulation, both physically and mentally. If left unexercised and unchallenged, they will resort to finding creative and usually destructive and/or dangerous ways of getting into trouble. If you don’t provide the stimulation they need they will create a way to do it themselves.
Recruit some help
It can never be emphasized enough the need for dogs to be walked. Tossing your dog out alone in a fenced backyard, or even with another dog, is not mentally stimulating, nor is it exercising your dog! Actually, it could even be making behavior problems multiply. Dogs with behavioral problems are not happy dogs! Their inappropriate behavior is their cry for attention and help. Regular daily walks not only provide your dog some physical release of pent-up energy but offer much needed mental stimulation from the sights, sounds and smells they encounter on these outings in addition to the social contact from spending time with a human or other dogs they meet along the way.
If you are not able or willing to walk your dog hire a dog walker to come and take them out for a walk or run when you are not home or ask if any friends and family are able to walk and spend a little time with them.
Find activities that require the least effort from you
The key to the solution of this problem is to focus on games and activities that make your dog run around while you are able to stand or sit in one place or to give your dog exercise that burns the maximum amount of energy in the most efficient way. If this is you, give these ideas a try.
There are many games you can play with your dog that use energy including
Play with other dogs – provide opportunities for your dog to play and socialize with other dogs whenever possible. This will burn both physical energy and provide mental stimulation through socialization
Fetch – throw a ball or toy a dozen or so times when you have a spare minute. To increase the intensity throw down hill or stairs
Frisbee – throwing a frisbee will really get your dog moving
Flirt Pole – a flirt pole is like a big cat tickler with a stick, rope and a lure or toy attached to the end. Move the lure around in circles or in all directions along the ground and your dog will chase it. Works with the dog’s natural prey instinct so will provide plenty of mental stimulation too.
View Flirt poles on Amazon
Tug of War – play a game of Tug of War with your dog. Make them crouch and pull back using extra energy.
Bubbles – chasing bubbles is a game many dogs love. You can even get bacon scented bubble mix, especially for dogs.
Scenting and Nose games – play scenting games to make use of your dog’s incredible sense of smell to provide additional mental stimulation. For more on this read “Scenting and nose tracking games for dogs”
Treadmill – Walking on a treadmill is not going to be a substitute for going for a walk, but a least it will provide some release of physical energy. Once your dog is trained to walk on the treadmill you can fit in any other small tasks you have to do while they walk. Obviously, you will need to stay nearby and supervise for safety.
Agility or obstacle circuit in your backyard – You can set up obstacles such as tunnels and jumps and when you have a spare five to ten minutes run them through the course a few times.
View agility equipment on Amazon
Lure coursing – a popular dog sport is Lure Coursing which involves the dog chasing a lure attached to a cable. You can do a similar thing yourself by using a remote control toy car with a short rope and lure or toy attached.
Backpack or Weight Vest – add resistance and extra effort to your dogs exercising by using a backpack with added weight or a dog weight vest. This should be no more than 10% of their body weight.
Teaching tricks and commands – learning new things is a great way to provide further mental enrichment for your dog. Even an old dog can learn new tricks.
Find activities that your dog can do without you
There are many activities that your dog can do when you are not there, Try some of these
Self Playing Dog Toys – There are many self-entertaining dog toys available. Read “Self-playing dog toys” to learn more.
Spring Pole – a spring pole is a rope with a spring with a toy or lure on the end that is attached to a tree or beam. Encourage your dog to grab the toy and pull. They will play tug of war by themselves.
Puzzle and interactive toys – provide mental stimulation for your dog with puzzle toys. For more on this read “Mental enrichment and Mind Stimulation”
See Puzzle toys on Amazon
Other toys – provide lots of toys especially chew toys. Dogs can hold a lot of stress if their jaws and chewing helps release this stress and is very calming for a dog. For more on dog toy read “Secrets to maximize the benefit of your dog’s toys”
See great dog toys on Amazon
Automatic ball launcher – if your dog loves chasing balls this device is perfect for them. Never have to throw a ball again. Read “Automatic ball launchers for dogs” to learn more.
If you are too lazy or simply unable to exercise your dog, remember it is still crucial for your dog to get exercise for their own overall health and mental happiness. Give these ideas a go. You will see a change in their behavior and overall health and also be building and reinforcing the bond between you. The results will astound you!
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