Exercising Your Dog Without Walking: 10 Creative Ideas

Written by: Sarah Seward-Langdon

Published on: 09/06/2022

If you have a dog, you’re likely used to being out and about. Exercising your dog is a daily chore and usually consists of taking them on walks. Occasionally, you may extend your usual walk time by about 15 minutes if you’re trying to tire them out more.

However, all dog breeds are different and their exercise needs do vary. For instance, a husky requires hours of high intensity activities, while a basset hound is very happy with leisurely strolls.

Just like humans need varying amounts of daily exercise in order to stay fit and healthy, dogs also need unique daily exercise in order to maintain their health. That’s why it’s important to consider your specific pet and understand their unique needs in relation to exercise (and health)!

How much exercise a dog needs depends on many factors, such as (but not limited to) breed, age, and pre-existing medical conditions [1]. Make sure you understand the breed you own and reach out to your vet or breeder to get a better understanding of what your fur baby’s needs are.

Once you’ve consulted a professional, browse through these 10 creative exercise ideas for your dog. Your dog will thank you for keeping it interesting!

Outdoor Exercise

You're probably thinking, “Well, a walk and a leisurely stroll outside with my dog is more than enough exercise!” You’re not entirely wrong when it comes to thinking this way.

However, there are so many different types of exercises that can be done outdoors that will help you maximize the enjoyment you and your pet have together. Additionally, some breeds do benefit from partaking in activities that are higher energy than just taking a jaunt.

Making sure your dog gets a variety of exercise into their routine will also help keep them interested and stimulated—sometimes enough so that they need less exercise overall. Here are some great examples of what you can do outside (that are not walking)!

Entertain them with fetch!

An obvious favourite is playing a game of fetch. This activity is a great way to make use of large spaces and many common items. Fetch is a great activity to do with your dog because it’s easy and you can use a ball, stick, dog toy, or frisbee to play.

Trying to add another element into fetch? A great idea is to incorporate training into a game of fetch. Instead of throwing the ball again and again, try to get them to listen to commands first! This can be as simple as sit, stay, or down—after your dog complies with your command, reward them with a throw!

Fetch is also versatile because not every dog needs a big field to have lots of fun. If you have a small space, some dogs enjoy the idea of chasing a moving object even if it isn’t going far. If your pet has a higher prey drive or loves “balls”, try this game over short distances as well and you’ll be surprised at how much your dog is enjoying him or herself.

Go for a swim

Although all dogs may not like to swim—or surprisingly, even know how to swim—this is a great exercise option for many of our furry friends. Since swimming is a low impact activity, it is especially beneficial for dogs with mobility issues like hip dysplasia or arthritis.

Moreover, swimming is great to help a dog build their stamina. As a non-weight bearing activity, regular swimming can help dogs increase their range of motion, lose weight, and build muscle [2].

Remember to take your time if you’re trying to teach your dog how to swim. If you want to ensure your dog has a positive association with water, it’s important to take the proper steps when introducing them to water. Things you can do to help them start swimming include keeping them in shallow water, using a doggy life jacket, or taking them along with you when you do dog-friendly water sports (ex. Paddle boarding).

Explore the world of dog sports

Do you own a high-energy breed? If so, you should consider exploring the world of dog sports. There are a variety of different types of dog sports so that you can pick one according to your dog’s specific talents.

Some of the easiest sports to get into include nose work and dock diving. But, if you’re more adventurous or experienced in training dogs, think about obedience, agility, and canicross! With lots of options, we’re sure that you and your dog will find a suitable dog sport you can partake in together.

Plus, what better way to create a strong, lasting bond between you and your furry friend?

New to dog sports? Get a quick rundown on popular dog sports that you should try with your precious pup!

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✅ Single ingredient, 100% pure Camelina Oil.
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Have you thought of cycling?

Bike riding with your dog by your side is a great way to keep your pet fit. However, not every dog is suitable for this activity and there are many safety precautions you need to consider before exploring this option.

Before you try it, it’s important that you talk to your veterinarian about whether your dog is healthy enough to keep up with your bike. Many small or medium dogs have short legs and find it hard to run alongside your bike.

If your dog is assessed by your vet to be in the physical condition to cycle with you, remember to start slowly! It is important you have the correct equipment, start with slow speeds over short distances, and use treats to constantly build their confidence.

Other safety concerns you need to consider is how the concrete impacts their joints and how the pavement is on their paws. Concrete and heat can be hard on their feet. Overall, just keep in mind that it is a very high-impact exercise activity and you must train them slowly to get adjusted to this new way of working out [3].

Explore dog-friendly hikes

Combine your love of nature and spending time with your dog by exploring all of the best hikes in your area! Hiking in new, more unique places than within your residential area or city space will provide your dog with the opportunity to get more engagement during their daily exercise.

This is another type of activity that it would be good to gradually start with your dog. Begin exploring the closer, shorter and easier hikes. Try to do hikes on cooler days and avoid the routes that have a lot of rough terrain. Once they become accustomed, take your sure-footed adventurer to all the hikes you desire!

It is important to bring plenty of water for your dog. If you and your dog are hiking experts, try adding on a difficulty level by giving them their own backpack!

Indoor Exercise

Exercise does not always need to be outdoors! In fact, there are many fun, tiring activities to keep your pup entertained when outside exercise is not possible. Whether you need to stay indoors because of the rain or because of an injury, here are some of our suggestions for indoor exercises…

Time for a fun training session

Although training can be done outside, it is a great way to spend a rainy day indoors. Not only will training keep your dog engaged, it is also beneficial for their overall quality of life. A better trained dog has more opportunity to explore the world because you are confident that they can handle a number of situations.

Grab some of your dog’s favourite treats and get them to follow your instructions. This type of exercise doesn’t need to be done in long, drawn out sessions. Instead, you can do this in multiple short increments throughout the day. Try practicing sit, down, place for practical commands; however, if you want more fancy tricks you can teach them things like handshake or bow!

Build an Indoor Agility Course

Although most people think about large, outdoor agility courses, you can make a DIY agility course right inside your home. You can use most of the things you have at home and just add a bit of creativity to set up a great agility course for your dog.

There are many variations of obstacles you can set up with simple furniture items. Some of the ones we recommend include:

  • Tunnel using a blanket draped over multiple chairs
  • Hurdle with items like a foot stool, stack toilet paper, or pillows
  • Incline obstacle by just using your stairs
  • Zig zag obstacle by using many items and getting your dog to weave in and out

Play Tug-of-War

Tug-of-war is often overlooked as an engaging activity to play with your dogs. Not only is it a great option physically, it is also easy to play! Furthermore, it helps teach your pup manners and impulse control!

Grab a toy, or even make your own by using an old towel or t-shirt. It is important to teach your young dog basic bite inhibition before testing out this game.

Initiate a Game of Hide and Seek

Celebrate your dog’s natural scent tracking abilities by playing a game of hide and seek. Even if you use the same spots over again, your dog will have a great time while also practicing some obedience.

You start playing this game by asking your dog to sit / lie down and stay. Then you find your desired hiding spot a call out to them once you’ve settled there. Praise them when they find you! You can ask a friend to help you if your dog doesn’t have a reliable “stay” command, but why not take this opportunity to solidify this essential command?

Set Up a Doggy Playdate

Does your dog have a best fur-riend? Invite them over for a one-on-one playdate! There’s not much to explain here… dogs expend lots and lots of energy playing with other dogs. As long as your dog has a friend they get along with, let them have time to play together.

Most dogs can tire each other out much faster and efficiently than you can just playing with your dog. Even if they’re indoors, they’ll be stimulated and having lots of fun!

Exercising is essential for your dog’s overall health. Not only will it help your dog to stay physically fit, it will also keep them satisfied and mentally stimulated. To add to your dog’s day, consider trying some new form of exercise! We hope you and your dog have a great time together, whether it’s spending time indoors or outdoors.

Camelina Oil for Equine

✅ Single ingredient, 100% pure Camelina Oil.
✅ Non-GMO
✅ Ideal balance of Omega-3 compared to other products, like soybean oil.
✅ Canadian produced and operated.

Camelina Oil for Canine


✅ Single ingredient, 100% pure Camelina Oil.
✅ Non-GMO
✅ Ideal balance of Omega-3 compared to other products, like soybean oil.
✅ Canadian produced and operated.

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About Sarah

"Sarah is a marketing specialist with a passion for anything creative! Her openness to working across industries and job opportunities has allowed her to gain enormous amounts of experience in graphic design, video production, and written content creation. Animals have a special place in her heart as she grew up with cats and now owns her own Alaskan Malamute. She has spent the last couple of years in Vancouver working with different companies within the pet industry and gained valuable knowledge about the ins and outs of the (alternative) pet food industry, supplementation, and various training methods. When she’s not digitally creating content for pet lovers to consume, she’s out eating great food, dancing at drop-in classes, or exploring the beautiful Canadian scenery with her fur-child Miso."