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5 Ways to Exercise Your Dog When You Can't Go on a Walk

If you're out of commission due to an illness or injury, a walk isn't always possible. Here's how to keep your dog exercised.

 |  Jun 20th 2014  |   2 Contributions


When you’re out of commission, such as when you're recovering from an injury or an illness, you’re probably not able to take your dog out for a vigorous walk. But not only do dogs need to exercise to keep their weight in check -- dogs who don’t get enough exercise end up misbehaving. Common bad behaviors include destructive chewing, digging, scratching, jumping on people, being overactive at night, and excessive barking or whining.

However, there are some ways to make sure your pooch gets pooped each day so he is too tired to even think about misbehaving. Here are five suggestions to help your dog expend excess energy when you're not feeling up to regular walks. Choose what options work best for you and your pooch.

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Spitz dog with ball looking at the camera by Shutterstock.

1. Go fetch!

A spirited game of fetch can tire out a dog, although you will probably have to repeat this routine several times a day. Grab your dog’s favorite ball and toss away. Most dogs love to run after the ball, but if your dog doesn’t bring it back to you, this may not be the best activity for you both.

2. Set up a treadmill

You’ve no doubt seen Cesar Millan put his dogs on a treadmill on his television show. I’ve always thought that it looks a little too easy; it turns out there is more to training a dog to use a treadmill than meets the eye. On his website, he explains the treadmill should have safety features such as side rails and a wider tread surface. And you should have your dog on a leash at first and start out on the slowest speed, gradually increasing the pace.

3. Visit a dog park

If you’re able to drive, taking your dog to the local dog park can be just the trick. Your dog has the opportunity to run around in an enclosed space and play with other dogs. This is a good choice if your dog enjoys socializing with other dogs. However, if your dog prefers other people to dogs, like my Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, this may not be the best option.

4. Hire a dog walker

When you run out of friends and neighbors to take turns exercising your dog, you could always hire a professional dog walker. Look for someone who is a member of Professional Pet Sitters International (PSI) or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). As you would when vetting a pet sitter, ask for a couple of references you could contact for verification.

5. Buy a drone

The idea may seem right up there with flying cars, but drones that walk your dog are actually here. Don’t believe me? We wrote about it last month. Now, I have a few reservations after watching the video in that story, such as how the drone knows to keep your dog out of traffic and what happens if your dog happens to get in a tussle with another dog, but the technology is here. It’s only a matter of time before robots are walking our dogs. Frankly, I’d prefer to have a robot that scoops up poop.

How do you exercise your dog when you're not up for a walk? Tell us in the comments!

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