Dogs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. Some are on the more active end of the spectrum, while others are on the lazy end. If you have lazy pets, there are some things you can do to encourage them to be more active.
At Balanced Pets in Traveler’s Rest, we can help you stay on top of your pet’s health. We are an integrative veterinarian, offering primary and holistic care for your pets. We understand that your pet is part of your family and when they’re not feeling well, you want the best possible care for them.
In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips to help you get your lazy pet to exercise.
8 Tips for Getting Your Lazy Pet Active
Below, we’ve gathered 8 tips to help encourage your unmotivated pet to get up and be active.
Start with a stroll around the block
One of the best ways to encourage your dog to be active is with regular walks. Start by going for a walk around the block. Then, start slowly increasing the intensity and length of your walks.
Avoid pushing your pet to do more than they can. Dogs are a lot like people, they need to build up their endurance. If they have been sedentary for a while, even a short walk can be strenuous. In addition, keep in mind that smaller breeds and older dogs have limitations, especially if they have health issues and problems with mobility.
You can keep them motivated by switching up the direction and/or location of your walks.
Get a few treat toys
Treat toys are a great way to get your dog active. These toys are available in a variety of sizes and are made of tough rubber with a hole on one end. You can teach them how to play with it by placing small treats and pieces of kibble that will fall out easily. Then, once they have learned how to use it, you can make it challenging by placing food and treats that are harder to extract, including:
- Bigger chunks of veggies/fruits
- Cheese cubes
- Soft dog food
- Peanut butter
- Mashed potatoes
In order to prevent mold and bacteria growth, you’ll want to make sure that you wash the toy after using mushy or fresh foods.
Play hide-and-seek with treats
Motivate your dog to move by playing hide-and-seek with treats. While they are in their crate or outside, hide a treat, kibble, or treat toy somewhere in the house. Then, release them and say “kibble/treat hunt”.
Start by hiding the treats in spots that are easy to find. Then, as they learn to play, start hiding them in spots that are more challenging. Eventually, you can move the game outdoors and hide it in spots that encourage running, climbing, ducking, and digging.
Set up playdates with other dogs
Find a playmate for your dog either when you go for a walk or at your local dog park and set up a playdate. Most of the time, the dogs will start circling and sniffing each other to become acquainted. If they are compatible, they will naturally start playing and/or chasing each other.
If your dog is shy, antisocial, or really lazy, get involved with the play and give your pet treats to reward them for playing.
Play with your dog
Encourage your lazy pets to be more active by playing with them. Things like fetch and tug-o-war are ideal for smaller spaces, especially if you have a long hallway or rec room to use. If you’re playing outdoors, you can use a toy launcher to play fetch.
Games like hide-and-seek are ideal for indoor spaces as well. Start by having your dog sit and stay. Then, go to a different room and hide. Once you are hiding, call your pet, and when they find you, reward them with praise and a treat.
If you notice that your dog seems bored, move to a new location, such as your backyard, or visit your local park. Another option is to find a new game.
Enroll your dog in a training class
Research indicates that 46.7% of pet parents enroll their dogs in training classes, while 45.5% do it themselves. Either way, obedience training is a great way to get your lazy pets active. Once they have mastered basic commands, advanced tricks build upon those basics. This will only be effective if you consistently work with your dog to reinforce the commands and encourage healthy activity.
Build an obstacle course
While you can enroll your dog in an agility training class, it is not a requirement. You can build an obstacle course yourself by arranging the furniture in your home for your dog to shimmy under, jump over, climb, or go around.
If you want to give them more room, build one in your yard. You can purchase agility-specific equipment, as well as use things you already have such as lounge chairs, trees, plastic traffic cones, and more.
Hire a professional
If you don’t have the ability to motivate your pet to be active, hire a dog walker or pet sitter. You can ask your loved ones, a neighbor, or a friend, or you can hire someone from a pet-sitting app.
Get Your Lazy Pet Active
Research shows that our pets can determine our mood by our facial expressions and vocalizations. Therefore, if you’re too lazy or unhappy/bored with exercising your lazy pets, they will pick up on that and respond with the same mood. In order to motivate your dog to be active, you need to be excited about it.
If your dog is still lazy even after implementing these tips, schedule an appointment with the team at Balanced Pets. Your pet may have an underlying condition that keeps them from being active. Let us find the problem and treat your pet with our integrative approach to health and wellness.