There are several ways to get your small dog to exercise. Luckily, little dogs can get all of their exercise in small spaces, including right in the living room! We have included three different games to teach your dog to make exercise a part of their daily routine while also stimulating their minds and improving focus.
All the games we show you how to train in this guide can be taught indoors. Once mastered, you can also play them outside for even more exercise!
If your small dog seems anxious or just acts like a jerk when they are not getting enough exercise, these games give them a fun way to burn off some energy while you watch TV on the couch. Enjoy!
Keep it Fun!
Remember that these are games and your dog should enjoy playing them. This will ensure that they learn quickly and also look forward to time spent playing with you.
If you correct your dog while trying to teach them these fun activities, you are spoiling the fun. Instead, ignore behavior that is not on the mark, and liberally reward the good stuff with praise and/or treats.
End Games Before Your Dog is Ready.
Professional trainers know that ending a game before your dog is bored is critical to keeping them really motivated to play. Keep them wanting more and you will find their enthusiasm to play goes through the roof!
Our methods take advantage of rewards to let your dog know they are on the right track. Not all dogs are motivated by the same rewards. For example, many dogs are food motivated, but some would rather work for excited praise and pets. In fact, these games are all so fun that they are eventually “self-rewarding.”
For example, once your dog knows fetch, they may be simply motivated by you throwing that ball or toy again – and no additional rewards will be necessary to keep them motivated to play this game until they are totally tuckered.
Choose motivators that work for your dog, and use them when the instructions say to reward your dog. If you find progress slow, food is a great motivator for most dogs. Use tiny pieces of treats that they really love. Once they know the behavior you are looking for, you can start to decrease the frequency you reward with food, or substitute other motivators like praise.
Not all people choose to use a clicker when training. If you prefer not to, just use a word of your choice that you will use only in training contexts to “mark” the instant your dog does it right, always followed immediately by a reward.