Exercising active dogs that stay at home alone

Do you have a complex lifestyle, combining a full-time job, family life and dog ownership? Does your dog stay at home alone most of the day? Do you struggle to provide your dog with an appropriate amount of exercise?

Every dog requires a different amount of exercise, based on its breed, age, and temperament. If you are the owner of an active dog, you know that unless you provide a long daily exercise session before you leave for work, your dog will get bored and may even cause damage in the house.

Running with your dog provides them with an excellent active workout program. If your dog accompanies you on your runs, you can make them an opportunity to also nurture mind and spirit. Changing pace and direction, asking your dog to sit at intersections or to perform basic commands such as jumping over natural obstacles like tree logs, or pausing to talk to and pet your dog, make for an inclusive workout.

But what do you do when bad weather restricts your training sessions? What if you get injured and are unable to run for days or even weeks ahead? Do you just leave your athletic, active dog at home? If so, prepare to face mighty consequences!

Today I want to talk about exercising active dogs that stay at home alone in a limited space to fulfill physical fitness needs, and also mind and spirit.

Mind exercises involve games that make your dog think. Spirit exercises mean communicating with your dog through voice, touch and body language, to satisfy their need for belonging and following.

Here are some simple exercises that you can do in your home or backyard, that use all three components.

Introduce your dog to the concept of “do as I do”. Making your dog jump by jumping yourself is an example of this – your dog simply repeats what you do as he or she watches you do it.

Once your dog understands what you are doing, follow this routine:

– Walk around with your dog next to you at various speeds. Your dog should stay at the heel position and stop when you do.

– Jump up and down 3-7 times. Your dog should jump near you without touching your body.

– Walk backwards with your dog right next to you. Start with just a few steps, then slowly progress to walking at different speeds and stopping.

– Turn 360 degrees with your dog keeping right next to you.

– Jump over an obstacle, such as a pillow, at the same time.

Now turn on some music and do all of the above. It may feel silly, but cheering is easier with music playing, and changing speed and jumping according to the tune feels less routine and more enthusiastic. Allow a minimum of 20 minutes for this exercise.

Tips: Move fast enough to raise your heartbeat. There is no need to be overly concerned with perfect obedience. If your dog has tried to figure out what you want, exercised physically and connected with you, you’ve done fine. And remember, practice makes perfect!

Do you often leave your dog at home alone? If you’re looking for more tips like the above, head over to 9to5dog.com This is a website and blog dedicated to my book, ‘9 to 5 dog: A step-by-step guide to keeping your dog happy while working full-time’.


Give your dog a job, a hobby or simply a way to drain access energy.

Running for Dogs

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