During hot weather, it’s easy for our dogs to become couch potatoes pooches because it’s not safe for them to exercise outside much. If your pup’s workout routine currently consists of walking to his treat jar or jumping up on the sofa for a snooze, it’s time to take action. Here’s how to get your dog back in the game, physically and mentally.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought this basic dog agility kit for my corgis, Bertie and Teddy (the ultimate couch potato pooches). It arrived with six sturdy plastic cones and three adjustable poles in a drawstring carry bag and is designed to help build up canine cardio, agility and fitness. The cones can be configured in various patterns and the poles can be raised for increasing difficulty. Within minutes, my dogs were weaving in/out of the cones and hopping over multiple pole jumps (sometimes side-by-side, like synchronized corgis).
FitPAWS CanineGym, dog agility kit $55.50; Chewy
I think this kit is best sized for small to medium sized dogs. For an idea of its proportions, here’s Bertie next to the pole jump.
Other users say that this agility kit has been beneficial for their dogs, no matter their age, but especially seniors (like Bertie) because it gets them moving, and increases their fitness and flexibility.
Here’s Teddy waiting to weave. When cooler weather arrives, we can also use this kit outside. Until then, it’s perfect for indoor exercise. My dogs are corgi crazy for this kit. They use it almost every night for at least 45 minutes.
Could you have a canine card shark? Tuck a treat in one of the pockets of this squeaky, crinkle sleight-of-nose card toy and see how fast it takes your pooch to pick the right card.
Lick a Card, Any Card toy, $10; Barkshop
This sturdy treat dispensing ball gets couch potato pooches up and about, and keeps them mentally and physically stimulated while playing. It can be customized for different sized treats, and comes in two sizes. Depending on the way your dog rolls it, treats are dispensed slowly or quickly. Inside is a center slot that lets you control the frequency and size of treat that will be dispensed.
I came across this ball when Teddy was a puppy, and it saved the day. It kept him busy, and prevented destructive behavior that often occurs during teething or when dogs are bored. Now, four years later, he still plays with it for hours on end.
OurPets IQ treat dispensing ball, $9.95 (3 inch)/ $12.45 (4 inch); Amazon
Here’s a play-by-play, courtesy of Teddy.
If you have a pool or take your dog to the lake, get him into water sports with these buoyant water toys.
The Seals water toys, $18.99/pair; Doog USA
Ergonomically designed to float upright in water, these seals have weighted tails so they bob like little buoys, and are easy to see while your dog swims toward them.
Remember, too, that every dog (even an experienced swimmer) should wear a high visiblity life jacket when in the water; and only let him swim under your careful watch. And dogs should only be outside during the coolest part of the day, and then, just for a brief time (say “no” to heat exhaustion).