You know your four-legged friend needs daily exercise as much as you do, but getting out of an exercise rut and venturing into an invigorating new activity is tough. Spice up your exercise routine that includes your pet, giving one of the following ideas a shot. Remember though, a specific activity may not be a success, but keeping you and your pet engaged in physical activity to boost your health and well-being is all that matters.
#1: Join a sporting club with your pet
Tons of canine sports may pique your dog’s interest, and provide an excellent way to break out of your typical exercise routine. While you may have already mastered obedience training classes, sporting activities are totally different, although those obedience skills will provide a solid foundation for a fun new game. Various sporting activities and clubs to consider joining with your dog include:
- Dock diving
- Lure coursing
- Scent work
- Canine freestyle
- Disc dog competitions
- Herding trials
- Rally obedience
Select a course your local kennel club or training facility is offering, or devote yourself to learning a specific new sport with your dog.
#2: Set out on walks with a new hiking buddy
When heading out for your daily walk with your furry pal, do you meander around the same old boring path? Sniffing the same scents and gazing at the same views every day can put a damper on your pet’s exercise time. Walking the exact same route can become dull and feel like a chore, so switch things up and add some fun by inviting a friend to walk with you in their favorite park, or heading to a local nature trail. Adding another person, or a pet your dog likes, can reinvigorate your daily walk time.
#3: Create indoor games to play with your pet during bad weather
Sometimes, Dayton weather is not pleasant enough for outdoor activity. During inclement weather, take your exercise program indoors and encourage your furry pal to join. Depending on your space, you can play fetch down a hallway, set up an indoor agility course using furniture, or play hide-and-seek. And, indoor games are perfect for your feline friend, since not many cats will safely walk on a harness outdoors. Most cats will chase a toy that’s tossed or rolled across the floor, and since they may not return the toy, you’ll also get exercise fetching the toy yourself. Discover your pet’s favorite toy, whether it’s a ball, rope toy, feather wand, or plush animal, and create a game that encourages them to get up and get moving.
#4: Incorporate daily training sessions into your pet’s exercise program
Your pet’s daily exercise doesn’t have to be focused on walks, runs, and play. Consider adding training sessions to your regimen to help brush up on old obedience skills and learn new tricks. Not only are training sessions a great way to exercise physically, but they’ll also help keep your pet’s mind sharp, especially learning new behaviors. If you’re struggling to teach your furry friend new tricks, try lure or clicker training, which will help guide your pet into performing the behaviors you want, while giving them the freedom to figure things out on their own. Better still, use a clicker or lure when training your cat, although you’ll have to keep the training sessions short, because cats have shorter attention spans than dogs.
#5: Include mentally stimulating games for your pet
When incorporating activity into your pet’s day, don’t forget mental activity. While a physically fit pet experiences cardiovascular and healthy weight benefits, a mentally fit pet will remain sharper throughout their golden years and be less likely to exhibit problem behaviors. Puzzle feeders are excellent, as they stimulate your pet’s mind as they work through getting their food out of the toy. You can purchase food puzzles or create your own never-ending stash of novel toys to excite your pet. New toys, scents, and tastes are also great ways to keep your pet occupied. Stuff a rubber Kong with tuna or yogurt and freeze the Kong for long-lasting enjoyment, or hide your pet’s dry kibble around your home to get your furry pal up and moving, while providing mental stimulation. You can also spritz your pet’s favorite toy with a catnip or pheromone spray, for a fun game of hide-and-seek in your home for your cat or dog.
Before turning your pooch from a couch potato to a marathon runner, or your kitty from a lap-warmer to a sleek jungle cat, ensure they are in tip-top physical shape. Schedule a physical exam with our Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital team to check your pet’s health before implementing a rigorous exercise program.
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