February 2020 Training Challenge: Explore New Indoor Physical Activity Options for Your Pet

I can’t believe it’s already February! That means it’s time for this month’s training challenge:

Experiment with, and incorporate 1 new indoor physical activity into your pet’s repertoire. 

I’ve been talking quite a bit about “Winter Oso”: how Oso’s behavior changes in the winter when his physical activity decreases. I know many other dogs start getting “cabin fever” around this time of year so this challenge seemed fitting for February. It’s always great to have more activities that both you and your pet enjoy up your sleeve when the weather gets bad! 

Here are 10 examples of indoor physical activities that you can experiment with:

  1. Jump to target: if your pet already knows a cue to touch their nose to something (ie: your hand, tennis ball on a stick, etc.), then gradually raise the target up so they have to jump to reach it!
  2. Jump up/off furniture: if your pet is allowed on the furniture, ask them to jump up and back off several times in a row. 
  3. Recalls throughout the house: wait until your pet is farther away from you (I toss treats down the hall to get this!) then ask them to “come”. The faster they come the more treats they get!
  4. Running up and down the stairs: run with your pet or stand at the top of the stairs and have them run down and back up by tossing treats or toys down (like fetch!) Be sure to put a mat at the bottom of the stairs so they don’t slide. 
  5. Fetch (down a hallway or up/down stairs): all you need is a long hallway or set of stairs and you can play fetch inside!
  6. Tug: a great strength-building game! It’s an old wives tale that this increases aggression so tug away! 
  7. Flirt pole: these are like giant cat wand toys made for dogs. They are great for exercise and can still be done inside if you have a large enough space or small enough dog!
  8. Long-distance “place”: similar to recalls throughout the house, wait until your pet is farther away and then ask them to sit or lie on their place/mat/bed.
  9. Balance activities & other physical therapy-type activities: get out the balance boards and exercise balls! These activities require extra training and can benefit from the recommendations of a professional, but are wonderful for senior pets. 
  10. Tricks that use extra muscle (I.E. sit pretty, army crawl, etc.): another that requires training but these can be a great way to get both mental and physical exercise in in one fell swoop!

Oso and I demo several of these activities in our February 2020 Training Challenge FB Live video (find our FB videos here). 

Now what?

  1. Pick an activity that sounds fun for you and your pet. 
  2. Try it out! Whatever you pick may require some time, patience, and training. Troubleshoot if necessary!
  3. Does that activity actually wear your pet out? If yes, then it’s an appropriate form of physical exercise for them. If not, go back to step 1. 
  4. Post pics and videos of your pet enjoying their new exercise on our Facebook page
  5. Need extra help? We offer enrichment consultations for things just like this! Email Emily at [email protected] to schedule yours. 

Happy training!


2 thoughts on “February 2020 Training Challenge: Explore New Indoor Physical Activity Options for Your Pet

  1. I appreciate your time providing these activities. There can be very long winters, and to provide activities for both the care taker and animal is so important to prevent unwanted behavior plus adding a delightful activity for both. Make it fun right!
    I love to dance so I have my dogs dance with me. I turn up the radio to my favorite song, grab a karate belt with a few knots, then dance till we are tired. The karate belt or any long rope works best to keeping distance for individual movement. Moving left, right, down the hall, slow twirl, follow their lead and in time they will follow yours just to keep going. This is great exercise for both: remember to choose a slow song at the end to decrease heart rate. Just like any exercise program.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Virginia! You’re so right that it should be fun for you and your dog!

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