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Dogs need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Otherwise, they can easily become bored, which can lead to problematic and destructive behaviors. But it's not always easy to get our canine companions enough physical exercise. This can be particularly challenging when the weather is bad or temperatures are too cold. Fortunately, there are a few ways to get your dog a little extra exercise in these situations:
If you have stairs in your home, use them to your advantage. For example, try playing fetch on them. Toss your dog's tennis ball or favorite toy up and down the stairs, then have them bring it back to you. Using the stairs adds a little something extra to the regular physical exercise of fetch.
If you have a treadmill, your dog can use it too. While this may seem odd or unsafe, treadmills are actually used to train dogs, as well as rehabilitate their injuries. Start with a very low speed and use treats to reinforce the behavior. Once your dog becomes more comfortable, you can slowly increase the speed. Make sure to always supervise your dog on the treadmill, keep the speed at an appropriate level and halt the activity if your dog shows signs of stress, anxiety or fear.
If the weather isn't too bad to drive, you and your dog can take a little trip to the pet shop or another pet-friendly store. This allows your dog to get out of the house, take a little walk around the store and stretch his or her legs. Plus there will be lots of new sights and smells to explore.
Some cities have indoor dog parks, which are exactly what they sound like. These large, climate-controlled facilities that offer the same benefits of an outside dog park (playtime, socialization, etc.) with one advantage: you can go in any time of the year. Some indoor dog parks even have restaurants and lounges for the owners.
A little snow doesn't have to stop you and your dog from getting some outdoor exercise or goin on winter walks - as long as you're being safe about it. Make sure the temperature isn't too cold and look for any signs of discomfort or distress. Larger dogs can spend more time in the cold than smaller ones. In addition, you may want to get your dog some warm clothing if he or she isn't a winter breed.