Ways to Exercise Your Dog: 18 Fun and Healthy Activities

Blue merle Australian shepherd jumping in the air to catch a frisbee

Are you tired of the same old neighborhood walks with your dog?

It gets old after a while.

But did you know there’s a world beyond that, packed with engaging and exciting exercises you and your dog would love?

There’s something special about creating new memories that keeps your pup mentally and physically stimulated.

Let’s unravel these unique ways to exercise your dog and transform your routine from boring walks into thrilling ventures, no matter the breed.

Why You Should Provide Your Dog with Daily Exercise

Daily exercise is non-negotiable for dogs if you want to meet their needs and ensure a happy and healthy life. A lack of activity is a precursor to behavioral issues, such as:

  • Excessive barking
  • Indoor accidents
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Separation anxiety
  • Reactivity
  • Getting into things they shouldn’t

Even if your dog isn’t displaying serious behavioral issues, chances are that they still aren’t content just sitting on the couch all day, every day. Even if you can’t go outside, there are indoor forms of exercise – read on to learn more!

18 Ways to Exercise Your Dog

Consider these fun and unique ways to exercise your dog today!

side view of woman jogging with golden retriever on beach

1. Jog With Your Dog

What’s better than jogging solo? Having a four-legged running buddy alongside you, of course. Integrating this into your morning or evening routine serves as a dual-purpose workout, catering to both you and your dog’s fitness needs.

Great Dane wearing dog backpack and carrying a large stick coming towards camera on a hike outdoors

2. Go Hiking

Dogs possess an innate curiosity to unearth new terrains. Hiking not only feeds this instinct but offers both physical and mental stimulation. Their keen senses get a treat with many novel things to explore, ensuring a content and tired doggy by day’s end. Everyone involved will appreciate this way to exercise your dog.

Woman resting with a dog on the seashore view from a tourist tent.

3. Go On A Camping Trip

Have you ever thought of tagging your dog along on a camping adventure? Beyond the scenic beauty, camping continuously engages your dog’s senses, giving them a complete mental workout in addition to the potential hiking you’ll be doing too.

belgian malinois jumping for tug dog toy

4. Break Out The Flirt Pole

The flirt pole is exciting for chase-loving dogs, like a cat toy on a string – but for dogs. It engages their prey drive, encouraging them to run and jump for the toy. This is a great way to expend lots of energy in a short period of time.

Dog beagle Pulls Toy and Tug-of-War Game

5. Play Tug

A mere few minutes of tug-play can exhaust dogs that love to engage in tug-o-war. This is a great opportunity to include some obedience training and use the tug as a reward. This reward-based system works wonders for their mental and physical faculties.

border collie dog performs at agility competition, jumping over hurdle

6. Agility

You don’t need to be an all-star to enjoy agility with your dog. All you need is a backyard agility set to get some exercise in. Agility caters to their physical needs and amplifies the bond between pet and owner, making it an excellent way to exercise your dog.

If you find that you enjoy the idea of agility and want to take it a step further, look for a club near you!

husky sitting for treat from owner

7. Do A Training Session

While it’s less about the brawn, training sessions are rich in brain activity. Beyond tiring them, it lays the foundation for impeccable habits and a strengthened owner-dog relationship. Learn how to properly communicate with your dog and the results will be worth bragging about.

A Labrador retriever puppy standing on a treadmill for best dog treadmills.

8. Utilize A Treadmill

Bad weather on the horizon? Consider a treadmill workout! This is an awesome alternative to inclement weather, or if your dog is recovering from an injury. None of the above? A treadmill or slat mill workout can be used as a supplemental form of exercise for dogs who have lots of energy.

Beagle wearing life jacket jumping into pool

9. Get Into Dog Sports

The spectrum of dog sports is vast, extending beyond just agility. From flyball, competitive obedience, barn hunt, fast CAT, lure coursing, and protection sports to dock diving, each sport promises a mix of thrill and exhaustive workouts, fostering a strong bond between you and your dog.

cute mixed breed dog playing on soft washable snuffle mat puzzle toy for hiding dried treats for dogs nose work

10. Puzzle Toys

Tasking your dog with figuring out how to retrieve food from these toys is mentally taxing, ensuring they’re sufficiently drained by playtime’s end. This is also a great way to exercise your dog indoors mentally.

shiba inu burying its nose in snuffle mat dog toy

11. A Game Of Nosework

Let your dog hone their primary sense—their sense of smell. Nosework games challenge them to locate rewards, serving as a potent substitute for physical workouts when needed. You’d be surprised how quickly your dog will tire after an intensive scent game.

close up of brown dog lying on paddle board on a river or lake

12. Go Paddleboarding

Once trained, dogs make great paddle boarding companions. It’s a harmonious blend of relaxation and exercise and a uniquely fun way to exercise with your dog. This also opens you up to a nice swim between sessions.

blue merle australian shepherd jumping to catch frisbee

13. Play Frisbee With Your Dog

It’s a classic but by no means outdated. Throwing in some obedience challenges and tricks while playing frisbee can amplify the fun and workout levels.

Teaching tricks, sitting on the front paws. Man is playing with his maltese dog indoors at home.

14. Teach Your Dog New Tricks

The repertoire of tricks a dog can learn is boundless, and this is an activity you can do outdoors or indoors for rainy days. Each new trick exercises their mind and body. As an added bonus, you can flaunt their skills to your friends!

Beagle dog outside fetching a ball. Agile dog training

15. Have A Game Of Fetch

A hearty game of fetch is another classic method to tire dogs who know the game. Further, integrating impulse control techniques can enhance their obedience. If you need space, an empty dog park or enclosed field works well to complete a workout.

Irish Setter puppies swimming in a pool with a yellow kong wubba, one of many fun ways to exercise your dog

16. Take Your Dog Swimming

Swimming is a great way to exercise your dog, as it is tremendously effective in wearing dogs out. From dog-friendly pools at sports facilities to serene lakes, your dog is spoilt for choice. This is also a great way to help your dog lose weight.

Shiba Inu dog doing yoga trick with owner

17. Dog Yoga

Or “Doga” is an inventive fusion of fitness and fun. It’s about time your dog learned the “downward dog,” right? Jokes aside, this is a fun form of trick training to engage your dog and build a bond.

Woman and happy dog dance in home, living room and teaching or learning a trick in development

18. Dancing With Your Dog

Swing, waltz, or tango; dancing is a lively workout. Plus, it’s a delightful party trick up your sleeve and can be a fun dog exercise!

How much exercise does my dog need?

This entirely depends on several factors: your dog’s age, breed, and energy levels.

Puppies and Exercise Needs

Although these young furballs are bundles of energy, it’s important to note that their exercise needs to be unstructured and not regimented.

Think of it this way: we wouldn’t put a human baby on a treadmill, would we?

Puppies should have ample time for free play, exploring their environment, foundational training, and learning about the world around them without being pushed into a specific exercise routine, like treadmill training, hiking, jogging, or long walks.

Senior Dogs and Exercise Needs

A senior dog’s needs often hinge upon their health, vitality, and any signs of aging they might be showing.

While some senior dogs maintain an energetic demeanor, warranting continued exercise (with reduced intensity), others may prefer more leisurely activities, like a short stroll to sniff the flowers.

A general guideline may include a gentle, 30-minute walk daily. However, always tailor their activities to their abilities and consult your veterinarian to ensure optimal health and comfort in their golden years.

Active Dogs and Exercise Needs

Active dogs, renowned for their zest for life and sometimes seemingly insatiable energy, require considerable exercise.

However, their mental exertion is equally as important as their physical activity.

The secret to a well-balanced, active dog is blending physical activities with cognitive challenges to prevent them from merely building stamina and encouraging genuine relaxation post-activity.

If you don’t focus on the mental aspect and solely focus on the physical, you’re creating an Olympic athlete.

Wrapping Up

Finding creative and effective ways to exercise your dog is crucial for their physical health, mental stimulation, and overall happiness. Whether it’s through high-energy games, adventurous hikes, or interactive playtime at home, every moment you spend actively engaging with your furry friend strengthens your bond and contributes to their well-being.

As you mix and match these exercise options, keep your dog’s unique needs and preferences in mind. The best exercise routine is one that keeps both you and your dog excited, engaged, and looking forward to each new day’s adventures.

Looking for more innovative ways to keep your dog active and healthy? Join my community of passionate pet parents. Subscribe to my newsletter for tips, tricks, and insights on creating a fulfilling and active life for your canine companion.

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