Indoor exercise vs outdoor exercise!

We know dogs need regular exercise, and as dog owners you
maybe worried that your dogs aren’t getting enough exercise with the current
restrictions on our movements.

Did you know that 20 minutes indoor exercise can be just as
good for a dog as 60 minutes outdoor exercise? This is because mental
stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation. Indoor exercise can
help engage your dogs’ brain, leaving them tired/chilled and fulfilled.

Studies like this one have also confirmed this.

Mental stimulation for your dog

Brain exercises and games are the best form of mental
stimulation that you can give your dogs. If your dog does not like going out in
the rain, or you can’t go out due to the current pandemic restrictions, now is
the time for you to engage your dogs’ brain while staying safe indoors. Brain
games have become very popular in the UK over the last few years, and they can
leave your dog feeling enriched, which improves their overall wellbeing.

There are many benefits of playing brain games with your
dogs. The games get the brain working and encourage them to use their memory
and to problem solve. This gives them robust mental stimulation, and it is
important as our dogs learn through play.

These are some examples of brain games:

  • Magic Pots
  • Puzzle Play
  • Snuffle Mats
  • Cardboard Chaos
  • Bubbles Play (Bubbles are not just for children;
    dogs love them too! You can even get chicken and meat flavoured bubbles)

 

 

Hugo enjoying his Snuffle Mat

 

 

Castle enjoying fun with Bubbles

You can also use ‘Lickimats’. You spread your dog’s favourite food on a Lickimat and get them to work for their food. You can also do this with cheesy spread or dog friendly peanut butter. Whatever you use, this will get your dog’s brain engaged and working for ages. Another engaging item is a Kong; you can put your dog’s favourite filling inside one, and they will lick at it for hours. Kong also do rubber balls with gaps in – you can put individual treats into the gaps and the dog works hard to try to get the treats out.

 

 

Hugo & Radley enjoying their Lickimats

 

 

Hugo with his Kong Ball

Mealtimes

You can also try an exercise with your dogs around mealtimes. There are no set rules that a dog should be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Also, dogs should not expect to be fed at these set times, so it is important to mix it up a bit. Why not try ‘Ditching the Bowl’? If you are worried about things getting messy, then this probably is not for you but who says a dog should be fed from a bowl? If you are a rebel a bit like me, then get rid of the bowl and make your dogs work for their meals. Spread their meal allowance out over the course of the day, make it fun and use their meal allowance to help mentally stimulate and enrich your dog’s daily life. Grab a Kong, or a Lickimat and use these items to distribute for your dog’s meals. Believe you me, your dog will thank you for it.

Dogs just want more time with you

Dogs very much live in the present moment, so they will not
be mad at you if a daily walk is missed. They just crave that love, time and
attention given to them, and unlike cats they depend on social interaction with
us and human connection. Do not be too hard on yourself if you cannot get them
outside for a walk but do engage in some indoor brain games with them instead.
After all, a dog really is a man/woman’s best friend…

How are you keeping your dog exercised right now?

Thanks for reading my first blog, I hope you enjoyed reading
it and that you will have some fun with your furry friends. Please let me know
how you and your dogs are coping with lockdown. I look forward to hearing all
your stories! 😊

Until next time, with Love, Hugs and Woofs. Nathan (Chief
Pet Carer and Owner at Nathan’s Paw Trails) x