For people who have a hyper-alert or energetic dog, seeing or meeting a lazy dog might come as a surprise. But the truth is that just like there are hyper dogs, there are also low-key dogs who don’t care much for exercise or moving around.
If you have a canine couch potato who only is interested in lounging around and relaxing at any chance, then you have to find a way to motivate him to exercise, so he doesn’t become overweight or inactive. Because being overweight and inactive can have serious health implications and even shorten your dog’s life.
Even if you want to motivate your lazy dog to exercise, you should probably not weigh your dog’s amount of exercise with other dogs because your dog may be a less active breed. You also should factor in your dog’s personality and most importantly, any health issues that may cause your dog to be lazy. Some dogs are lazy and reluctant to move because of joint pain, medical conditions, diseases like anemia, cancer, or nutritional deficiency.
After considering these factors, and consulting your vet, if you want to get your dog to exercise, here are seven clever ways to motivate your lazy dog.
1. Try toys
Sure you’ve probably tried throwing balls or Frisbees without arousing your lazy dog’s interest or even getting his attention. But have you tried all kinds of toys, including DIY dog toys?
Not all dogs have that retriever instinct, so they may not respond to balls or frisbees. But that doesn’t mean they will ignore all toys. Maybe you haven’t found the right one yet. There are a variety of toys you can try:
Puzzles and interactive toys challenge your dog by hiding treats or food for the dog to find. These toys provide mental stimulation and can help dogs that struggle with separation anxiety.
Despite what some trainers warn, there’s no evidence playing tug with your dog will make him aggressive or dominant. Playing tug with your dog is excellent mental and physical exercise. It’s also a good way to help your dog become more confident.
Stuffed or plush toys provide multiple play options. Some dogs cuddle with the toys, while others will toss and chase them. If your dog chews up a stuffed toy that makes noise, pick up the squeaker so the dog won’t choke on it. And don’t let your pup eat the stuffing either.
Glowing dog toys
Lighted dog toys provide another method to stimulate your dog. And they can make playing in the dark fun.
Toys that talk, play music, or make realistic animal sounds can encourage your lazy dog to play.
Floating dog toys help stimulate dogs that love to play in the water.
2. Exercise in small doses
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to easily make a dog that hates exercising take a 20- to 30-minute walk. Start small and be consistent. Rather than a 20-minute walk, try a 5- or 10-minute walk instead.
Keep the first few walks short and sweet. Add a lot of fun and treats, so your dog will be happy to join you on the next walk.
3. Create a routine for your dog
Creating a schedule is the best way to make a lazy dog get used to exercising. If you’re inconsistent and only walk your dog occasionally, motivating your dog will be hard.
Your dog wants to spend time with you, so build a daily walk into your schedule at a time that works for your schedule. But also keep your dog’s needs in mind. Not all dogs are willing to wake up at 6 a.m. to jog with their owners. Find a time that works for both of you and stick with it.
4. Choose the right activity
Although taking dogs for walks is the most common exercise for dogs, if your dog is lazy, consider other activities.
Try to find something that your dog is enthusiastic about doing. Some dogs may be lazy, but at the sight of a chew toy or a ball, their eyes spark with enthusiasm, and they’re ready to move fast.
Try new things like agility tunnels, chasing beds, play dates with other dogs, or puzzle toys that provide mental stimulation.
5. Don’t just tell, show your dog
Many dogs adjust their activity level to their owners’ activity level. And if your dog is clingy, you’re more likely to be able to get your dog to move if you move. You can’t sit on a bench in the park, throw the ball and expect your dog to get it. He’ll most likely lie on the ground beside you.
If you’re active, you can go for walks together or take your dog jogging around the neighborhood. Consider taking your dog hiking, camping, or kayaking.
Most dogs become active around other dogs like themselves. You can try arranging a play date with a friend’s dog. This could motivate your dog to move around out of curiosity about the other dog or a new environment.
Apart from play dates, you can allow your dog to participate in competitions and games with other dogs. This way, your dog is socially active and can meet other dogs.
7. Let your dog be the leader
It is possible for us to get caught up with work or other things, but you should be aware of your dog’s wishes. When you notice he is restless or keeps standing beside the door or bringing his toy or ball to you, that’s a sure sign that he’s in a good mood and is ready to play.
Don’t abandon him, entertain him, and take advantage of his energetic moments even if it’s outside of his scheduled playtime.
Find what works for your dog
Don’t be discouraged if you have a low-energy dog. There are several ways to motivate your lazy dog to be active as long as he or she has no health issues. You also have to be careful not to overdo it and patiently learn what activity works for your dog and what activity doesn’t.
Scott Mathews is a professional writer at Assignment Man, and he’s known as a professional assignment helper to many of his students. He enjoys writing and regularly contributes to several blogs. Apart from providing case study help, he is also an expert at providing students with math homework help. He also has written an academized review or two like the grade miners review.