By Tim Falk
Published: 12/28/2020, edited: 10/26/2022
One of the few good things to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that we now have more time to spend with our pets. As working from home has become a way of life for many, we’ve been able to strengthen the bonds we share with our fur-babies.
But while spending less time in the office and more time with your dog can only be a good thing, it’s not always easy. You still have to earn a living after all, which can lead to work and your precious pupper competing for your attention.
The good news is that there are still plenty of simple ways to help your dog stay active and stave off boredom. Keep reading for 9 simple exercises you and your pup can squeeze in between Zoom meetings on those busy workdays.
If you know you’ve got a full day of work ahead of you, start out on the right paw with an early-morning workout. It could be a leisurely walk, a fast run, or anything in between — it all depends on the exercise needs of you and your dog.
Whatever workout you choose, you’ll feel better knowing you’ve already got some exercise under your belt for the day. Your pup will also start the day happy, and will be much more likely to enjoy a peaceful snooze than get up to mischief at the worst possible time.
Exercising your dog doesn’t get much simpler than this old favorite. It’s also a great game to enjoy in short bursts, so you can fit it around whatever your workday throws at you. You can play it inside or outside, incorporate stair climbs to give your pup an extra workout, and play for as long as your work schedule allows.
But don’t just stand there and let your dog get all the exercise. See how many push-ups, sit-ups, or jumping jacks you can do while your dog is off fetching the ball so that you’re also enjoying the benefits of physical activity. It won’t take long for both of you to get those heart rates up.
There are some moments in every workday when you just need to take a break. Maybe there’s a problem you need to work through in your mind, maybe you need a moment to prepare yourself mentally for a meeting, or maybe you just need a rest from staring at the screen.
During those moments, treat your pup to a game of follow the leader. If your doggo naturally follows you around the house anyway, all you need to do is enjoy a stroll around your home (and yard, if you have one) with your pooch by your side. If your pet is a reluctant walker, a small treat should encourage them to get off the couch and get moving.
Agility is a fast-paced dog sport that offers a wonderful physical and mental workout for pups. It’s also a sport that can be recreated at home.
Using whatever you can find around your home and yard, set up your pup’s very own agility course. Get your pup jumping over hurdles, weaving in and out of barriers, climbing stairs, and more — whatever you think will give them a suitable workout.
Then you can train them to tackle the course, and you might be surprised just how much you’re puffing once you lead your pooch around the course to the finish line.
This is another staple doggy playtime activity that can come in handy when you need to exercise your dog on a busy workday. It’s also a game that’s suitable inside and out, and great when you want to have a quick play in between busy work tasks. So find your pup’s favorite chew toy, warm up your biceps, and get ready for some fun!
Being cooped up inside all day long isn’t good for you or your dog. So whenever the opportunity arises, it’s always a great idea to get outside for some fresh air and vitamin D.
When you’re ready for lunch, why not enjoy it outside with your pup? This will give you a chance to get away from the computer and the pressures of work for a few minutes and spend a little bit of quality time with your dog. You can find a spot in the sun to sit down and eat, or you might like to stroll around your yard (or even the block) while you enjoy your lunch.
This brief respite will make it easier to face the busy afternoon ahead when the time comes to get back to work.
This one is more for your pup than for you, but it’s still a whole lot of fun. If you’re looking for a simple way to provide some mental stimulation for your dog, hide some of their favorite treats around the house.
Start with some easy hiding spots while your pooch gets the hang of the game, then graduate to more advanced challenges over time. Your furry friend can then use their sense of smell to sniff out some tasty treats, making this one very rewarding activity for a hungry pup.
Hide-and-seek isn’t just for kids — dogs can play too. When you’re ready for a break from work, tell your pup to sit and stay while you sneak away and hide in another room. You can then call your dog to come to you, or they may already decide of their own accord to start searching.
Your pup can then use their senses, especially their incredible sense of smell, to track you down. Over time, you can gradually up the ante and choose increasingly difficult hiding places, all in the name of providing a mental and physical workout for your fur-baby.
Feeling stressed? Need to step away from the computer for a few minutes and find your inner calm? What better way to chill out than with a quick doggy yoga session!
Okay, so it might not be the same as heading off to a yoga class, but it can be a wonderful way to relax, release some stress, and have a bit of fun. While you work on a few poses, encourage your pooch to engage in some light stretching.
They might end up wiggling their butt in your face instead, or just lying down to take a nap, but they’ll love the chance to spend time with you. And when it’s time to get back to work again, you’ll hopefully be feeling refreshed and ready to go.
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