Best Dog workouts: Fun daily exercises for your pup to keep them hale and hearty- January 2024

Are you looking for fun dog workouts to do something fun and engaging with your dog? Tired of him chewing on your expensive furniture and digging up your beautiful garden? In search of some fun games to play with your dog indoors? We can understand your dilemma, as exercising with your dog requires energy, loads of research and drawing the rules of house to specify the do’s and don’ts.

Dog-friendly workouts are essential for your pups’ overall health and well-being, as they polish their physical abilities and strengthen the bond between pet parents and their fluffy partners. Exercising with your dog can be fun and rewarding, as it leads to mental stimulation, which is quite pertinent in maintaining your dog’s cognitive health.  For instance, dog workouts can help in their training to make decisions or navigate hurdles, making their minds sharp.

In 2020-21, we were introduced to social distancing and quarantine, forcing us to adapt to our environment’s changes and make new rules. Responsible pet parents limited their dog’s exercise time and started looking for indoor dog workouts to keep their pups happy and busy. But quarantine is not the only thing that can keep people and pets indoors. The cold season is also notorious and challenging, particularly for pet parents in areas that have very low temperatures. Vets advise them to look out for indoor door workouts and limit long walks and outdoor exercises.

Your busy office schedule may make it difficult for you to take your pup outdoors, and hence you must draw out an ideal indoor schedule for your dog to keep them entertained at home. In this article, you will find titbits to some great indoor dog workouts and activities to keep your pooch hale and hearty.

Why is dog time important?

Dog time refers to the time you spend with your dog and the activities you engage in, such as playing, exercising, training, teaching them to socialize, and taking them out for a walk. Dog time is crucial as it helps balance your pup’s mental well-being and physical health. It is important because:

  • Exercising with your dog is vital in maintaining a healthy body weight, building strong muscles, and keeping in check their cardiovascular health. Exercising with your dog helps prevent destructive behavioral issues such as excessive barking and chewing on home furniture.
  • It aids in mental stimulation and prevents boredom and anxiety in your pup. Dogs are intelligent animals that require activities that can challenge them mentally and physically and help them to stay healthy and alert. 
  • It supports socialization and overall training. They learn to behave around people in different settings, develop confidence and prevent aggressive and fearful behavior. 
  • It allows you to bond with your fluffy partner and build a healthier and happier relationship.

Best dog workouts

If you are a dog parent, you might wonder, “What are some of the best dog workouts for your fluffy partner?” There are a variety of workouts to choose from. However, some of the best of the lot are mentioned below:

Walking

Walking is one of dog workouts’ most popular and easiest cardiovascular types. Start with 30 minutes of walking each day and slowly increase the time period. Try to incorporate a mixture of routes to make it more interesting and challenging for your dog. Also, leash walking can be good for your pet, but allow them to explore independently. Give them time to sniff scents and look for interesting things.

Running

Running is a great full-body workout, requiring a lot of energy. Start with short distances and later build them up with interventions to avoid overexertion. You can also run with your dog, but carefully watch them for some early signs of exhaustion. Also, running is not recommended for pups, young dogs, or those who easily overheat.  

Hiking

This excellent outdoor workout can allow you and your dog to explore the surroundings. Your dog can experience new sounds, smells, and sights. The leash can effectively protect your dog and other dogs and hikers from perilous situations. Ensure that you choose a trail appropriate to their size and fitness level. Also, carry loads of water supplies and keep yourself hydrated. 

Swimming

This low-impact dog exercise suits dogs with injuries or joint problems. If your dog is new to swimming, do not forcefully throw them in the deep end. Lead your dog into the water and let them get comfortable. You can also play different games in the swimming pool, such as fetching a ball or Frisbee. 

Agility training

Agility training includes setting up difficult obstacles for your dog, such as jumps and tunnels, to build strength, coordination, and alertness. You can also set up weave pools to teach them the right ways to navigate. You can easily set up your own agility training course in the backyard if you have a broomstick, two buckets, a blanket, and a large cardboard box. 

Fetching

Fetching improves your dog’s reaction time and coordination. Teaching your dog fetching can take time, as some dog breeds prefer to avoid chasing or retrieving things. The right type of fetching toy depends on your dog’s overall size, fitness level, and age. Some common toys include balls, discs or Frisbee, and rope toys, to name a few.   

Scent training

Scent training is a fun brain exercise to engage your dogs, as it allows them to do one thing they love most, i.e., use their noses. Scent training alerts your dog to detect different odors and fulfill their play and enrichment needs. For this, arrange shoe boxes on floors in areas your dog can easily reach. Bring them to the room and cue them to look for treat boxes. 

How much daily exercise does the dog need?

Vets recommend that the daily amount of exercise required for most dogs is around 30 to 120 minutes. However, some active breeds may need more. Remember that some breeds were developed to lead an active lifestyle compared to their peers, such as Labrador Retrievers or German Shepherds. Also, buying an active dog breed is recommended, if you love sports or exercising. 

If you have a dog breed that is less active such as English Bulldog or Shih Tzu, you can start with three walks per day, 10 minutes each. If your dog has more energy for playtime or you detect some early signs of boredom or frustration, you can increase the exercise time. 

Remember that only some types of workout or exercise are appropriate for some dogs. While choosing the best dog workouts, consider the age and breed of your pet. For instance, greyhounds are not naturally built for long-distance running. Similarly, pugs cannot engage in extensive strenuous exercises. Always consult your vet to ensure your dog is not suffering from any underlying condition that may constrain dog workouts, such as heart or neurological problems or joint issues.

How often to walk a dog

Dog parents usually ask this question, as walking your dog is one of the popular exercises to keep them healthy and fit. The frequency of walks usually depends on their overall health, breed, size, and age. Here are some guidelines that you can keep in mind:

  • If you own a puppy, you should take them for a walk every 2-3 hours, as they have a lot of energy and require frequent walks. As they get older, you can increase both the length and frequency.
  • If you are a parent to an adult dog, you should take them at least once for a walk per day, which should last around 20 to 30 minutes. Some dogs, such as terriers, may require more extended walks to fulfill their daily exercise needs. 
  • Senior dogs do not require extended walk times. They usually require less exercise than younger dogs; hence, a shorter walk time may be sufficient to meet their health and mobility needs.

While managing the frequency of walks, remember that the quality of your walk is also vital. Dogs benefit from walks that allow them more room to explore, sniff around and explore their surroundings, compared to walks that their owners rush. Allow your dog to play around, socialize with other dogs and enjoy their time outdoors. 

Exercising with your dog

Exercising with your dog is an excellent way to keep you and your dog hearty. You cannot only bond with them during this time but can also achieve your fitness goals together. Here are some tips to keep in mind, while exercising with your dog:

  • Start it slowly to prevent injuries. You can gradually increase the frequency and intensity of the workout.
  • Pick workouts or activities that your dog enjoys. For instance, if your dog likes running, you can go out together for a quick run. If they like fetching, you can mix it well in your workout routine. 
  • Always use a leash while exercising with your dog outdoors. It is advised to keep them safe and under control. Make sure that the length and strength of the leash are in accordance with your dog’s size and strength.
  • Always keep ample water supplies with you, especially during the hot season.
  • Be alert to your dog’s signals. If you watch signs of exhaustion or discomfort, immediately stop the workout. Some symptoms include slowing down, excessive panting, losing interest, or forgetting commands.
  • Keep things interesting for you and your fluffy partner. For instance, one day, go hiking, and then the very next day, try agility training. The idea is to engage in activities that can be fun for both of you. Dog workouts are the best way to make your bond stronger with your fluffy partners.
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Read More: Hiking or Backpacking with Your Dog

Fun indoor and outdoor games to play with your dog

Are you looking for some fun indoor and outdoor games to play with your dog? Are you tired of trying the same dog workouts every day?
Read More: Hiking or Backpacking with Your Dog

Well, if that’s the case, there are a variety of fun games to play with your dog rather than taking them for a walk or run. Here are some fun games that you can play with your dog during leisure time:

Hide and Seek

This fun game is a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated, as it requires them to use their brain to think critically, something they don’t often do. Before starting the game:

  1. Ensure your dog understands basic commands such as find, come, sit and stay.
  2. Start it by leading your dog to a room.
  3. Command them to sit and stay, and move a little backward.
  4. Dash back to your dog and reward them for staying in the same place.
  5. Repeat this exercise a few times. 
  6. When your dog understands the command, position them with their back against the wall and ask them to sit and stay. 
  7. Now be silent and hide. Once you are hidden, call out your dog’s name and say come. 
  8. In beginning, hide in easier places and with time make it more challenging for them. 

Tug of war

This game can help build up your pet’s strength and naturally drives them to burn off excess energy. Before starting the game:

  1. Teach your dog the release command, such as drop it.
  2. After they have mastered it, choose a suitable tugging toy.
  3. Pick up an outdoor spot and initiate the game.
  4. It is advised to take breaks, particularly when your dog starts growling or gets too excited. 
  5. Also, during the game, if your dog bites you at any point, immediately stop the game. Command them to release and take the toy away from them. 
  6. Try to make them win more, as this helps build their confidence. However, if they misbehave, you should be the one ending up with the toy.  

Treasure Hunt

A treasure hunt is a great activity to teach your dog new tricks and to reboot their natural behavioral patterns.

  1. Start the game by teaching basic commands to your dog, such as find, stand, sit, or run.
  2. Reward them each time they follow the training steps successfully.
  3. In the next stage, train your dog for healthy discipline. For instance, put their favorite treat in front of them and command them to stand, teaching them to stay patient and not rush to get the treat. 
  4. Initially, hide treats within a small room and in places that are easy to locate for your dog and ask them to find them.
  5. Let your dog sniff the treat all across the room.
  6. In the beginning, you can also gesture your dog to the right place and with time go bigger in hiding them throughout the house. 

Bubble chasing

Bubble chasing is a fun activity to play with your dog, as they naturally get excited after seeing colorful bubbles in the air.

  1. If your dog is playing this game for the first time, start it by blowing some bubbles in the air. If they look uninterested, point them in their direction.
  2. Once they see it, their natural reaction should be to chase and catch it. 
  3. This game can be played indoors by moving the furniture in your living room or outdoors in your backyard.
  4. Once you have a bottle and wand, you can easily make the bubble supplies at home with the help of water and dish detergent.
  5. After playing, wipe off your dog’s face with a damp towel to avoid eye or face irritation. 

Treadmill

Taking your dog for a walk or run daily is only possible sometimes, especially during snow, wind, or rain. So how can you ensure your dog exercises to meet their fitness goals? Consider using a treadmill for their training.

  1. Start by turning on the treadmill at a very low speed.
  2. Lure your dog with their favorite treat and ask them to walk on the moving surface.
  3. After a few practices, ask your dog to stand squarely on the treadmill and turn it on.
  4. Encourage them to continue walking, while praising them for their effort. 
  5. Initially, it is normal for them to get startled when the machine’s surface starts moving.
  6. As your dog gets used to it, increase the frequency and speed of the device. 

How to entertain your dog?

As a concerned and responsible dog owner, you must look for ways to keep your dog entertained and engaged, as it is key to their well-being and happiness. Here are some fun activities or dog workouts that can keep them active, alert, and challenged:

Play Fetch

This is a classic activity that most dogs love. Grab a Frisbee or a ball and head to your backyard or nearby park. Start with short throws and, with time and practice increase the distance.

Plan a hike

Dogs love outdoor settings, so take them for a challenging hike. You can choose a trail as per your fitness level and the size of your dog. But remember to keep hydrated and take plenty of water supplies and snacks. 

Teach them new tricks

Dogs are quick to learn new tricks. Start with basics, such as “sit or stay,” then gradually move to more advanced ones “play dead or roll over.”

Make handmade toys

Dogs love to play with toys, but instead of buying readymade ones, you can make your own toys at home. Use old or discarded clothes such as t-shirts or socks to make tug-of-war rope or a chewy rice-filled toy. 

Plan a playdate

Dogs are social animals who love socializing and playing with their peers. You can set up a playdate with your friend’s or relative’s dog or go to a local park to find one. It will not only help them in socializing with peers but will also be a killer dog exercise to burn off some energy. 

Play Hide-and-Seek

It is a popular dog exercise to engage your pup. Start by hiding their favorite toy in an easy-to-find spot. With time increase, the difficulty level to keep them mentally stimulated. 

Arrange a dance party

Dogs adore music, and having a dance party with your pet can be a fun dog exercise. Play your favorite tunes and dance till your last breath.

Read more: 12 Dog-Friendly Summer Activities

By incorporating these fun activities or dog workouts, you can keep your pub health happy and entertained. But always supervise your dog during playtime and choose activities that match their size and overall body fitness levels. 

How to make your dog happy?

As a pet parent, your foremost priority is ensuring your dog is happy and content. Here are some tips to make your furry friend happy:

Praise them for showing good behavior

Maintaining a healthy and positive relationship with your dog is vital for their physical and mental wellbeing. Praise your pet verbally and physically, as it aids in positive reinforcement training. With praise, give them rewards and treats to make your bond super-strong.

Focus on plenty of dog workouts

Exercise makes your dog happy, as daily walks or runs stimulate them mentally and physically. Explore new parks and beaches or go on country walks now and then. Mix up the workout routine to make it challenging for them. Remember that for your dog; walks are all about sniffing out new scents, so give them ample time to explore the area. A flirt pole is an excellent fun-chasing activity that can help train your dog to listen to commands such as take it, sit down, or fetch.

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Provide them with a balanced diet

A balanced and nutritious diet is key to maintaining your dog’s health and wellbeing. Ensure you develop a diet plan suitable for their size, age, and activity level. 

Ask your dog to do a job for you

Dogs of a specific breed like to assist you in jobs such as guarding, hunting, herding, or finding. Engage them in chores or household jobs to channel their energy. Ask them to fetch the newspaper, or throw an item in the bin, or pass on a written message to your family members. Dogs love to be valuable family members and never shy away from helping. 

Dog massages can be fun

Massages can help manage your dog’s anxiety levels and improve their circulation. It is also a fun activity to strengthen your bond with them. Start the massage by petting your dog.

Read More: 7 Ways to Make Your Dog Happy

Now gently massage them in a circular motion, starting from the top of their head to the neck muscles. Move down to the shoulder area, as this is their favorite spot. Now massage the chest and front legs, but be cautious with their paw pads, as they don’t like to be touched in this area. 

Ideal puppy schedule

Developing an ideal puppy schedule for your fluffy partner is vital for their growth and wellbeing. Here is an example of a perfect daily schedule for your pup:

Remember that every puppy is different, and you may need to adjust this as per your pet’s needs. 

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Katie is a passionate writer and avid reader with a deep love for pets. Her mission is to assist pet parents in providing the best care possible for their furry friends. In addition to her work in the pet industry, Katie also tackles serious issues such as human rights violations and crime, and is tirelessly advocating for a society where minority voices are heard loud and clear.

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