Quick Tips to Transform a Couch Potato Into an Active Dog
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
As a pet owner, you just love it when your cute furry friend snuggles and lounges with you on your couch while you enjoy your favourite movie or TV show, or simply relaxing in bed. However, if you notice that your dog just loves to get cozy any chance it gets, then you might have a couch potato dog.
Dogs naturally love to run, play, and jump, especially when you take them to a fun dog park. If your pooch starts to show disinterest in these physical activities and prefers to just lie down and snooze in their dog bed after a meal, then they could be at risk of becoming overweight. Gaining unhealthy extra pounds can result in serious health conditions, such as obesity, arthritis, and heart problems. Getting your lazy dogs to exercise is essential to their overall health and well-being, especially as they age.
Reasons Why Your Dog Has Turned Into a Couch Potato
There are some instances when being lazy is normal to a dog if it means getting more sleep to rest or grow. Several factors could be behind their laziness and some could be a result of a combination of multiple factors. If you suspect that your Fido is simply getting lazier, it’s important to determine the cause. Identifying the exact reasons can help you turn a couch potato into a healthy, active dog again.
Everyone loves summer — sunny blue skies, longer days, and warm sunlight. There are several fun activities you and your dog can do during the summer months. However, after a long hot day, your body works hard to cool down. This is the same for your pooch.
Summertime may be fun, but heat can cause the energy level of your dog to drop, especially if they are playing outdoors. Make sure your dogs have access to plenty of clean, cool water to keep their bodies hydrated and take them inside to cool off. Also, keep an eye on your dog and look out for any symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Puppies are naturally more active and have high energy. However, growing puppies need to get more hours for sleeping any chance they can get throughout the day and all through the night.
On the other hand, the case of older dogs is different because they are a bit more subdued. As part of the ageing process, older dogs tend to become less active and sleep most of the time compared to when they were younger.
Under-stimulation can also be a common cause of dog laziness. When there is a lack of physical and mental stimulation for dogs, it can turn them into a couch potatoes. They eventually become bored and start to lose interest in activities that they love and enjoy. While certain dog breeds are naturally active, there are also certain lazy dog breeds that need stimulation to get up and engage in physical and mental activities.
Some dog breeds tend to be more active than others. For instance, a Jack Russel has traditionally been bred to guard and chase foxes away from the owner’s property. Poodles are born with high energy levels, while English Bulldogs and Pugs have much lower energy levels.
If you notice your Basset Hound prefers to spend most of their day relaxing on your couch while your Golden Retriever is having fun running and playing around your backyard. This is normal for their breeds.
Your dog’s diet plays a crucial role in their level of energy. Dogs that eat too much tend to spend more of their time sleeping. Overfeeding your dog with their favourite food does not only affect their natural sleeping pattern but also increases their risk of obesity. In addition to health problems, extra pounds cause them to become more lethargic. Also, a poor diet can lead to malnutrition, which triggers sleepiness so they can save their energy. When your dog is not able to digest the food properly, it can make them sluggish and uneasy, leading to poor sleep quality.
Lethargy can sometimes be caused by injury or illness. If your dog suddenly becomes lazy or lethargic and is showing signs of being ill or injured, take them to the nearest veterinary clinic for a check-up. The vet will perform a thorough health check on your pet, including their weight.
How to Motivate Your Dog to Become Active
It does not matter what breed your dog is or how lazy they are, your Fido will usually go bananas when they hear you say you want to take them outside for a walk. While it does not necessarily have to be a long walk or a crazy outdoor adventure, getting your dog out there and moving means you are on the right track to keeping your furry friend healthy and physically active. If your pet has been a couch potato for a long time, just start slow on their dog training and gradually work your way into longer walks or running faster and longer.
Assess Your Dog’s Health
Like humans, your pet also needs to engage in physical activities and enjoy their favourite games for dogs and fun obstacle courses to keep them in good physical shape. However, it is important to get a clearance from their vet if they have been previously injured or ill before starting a new exercise routine or resuming activity. It is also imperative to have your dog’s health assessed and checked if they seem to be suddenly lethargic or sluggish. Constant tiredness or disinterest in playing can be an indication of health problems that need an immediate trip to the nearest veterinary clinic.
Try Out Different Dog Toys
Every dog has its own preferred toy. If your dog seems uninterested in your toy selection, they might end up unmotivated to try them out and play. Gather different types of fun toys for your dogs, such as balls, squeaky toys, frisbees, ropes, and plush toys. It will give your furry friend a chance to choose something they like. It is also important to understand that your dog’s preference can change throughout the years. If your dog starts to lose interest in a toy they once loved, it might be time to get them a new one.
Set Up Playdates
Dogs naturally love to play with other dogs. Having them be around other dogs can motivate them to run around and play with others. Setting up a playdate or taking them to a trusted dog daycare facility can help your furry pal socialize with other dogs and satisfy their inherent pack nature while keeping them physically fit and active.
Exercise in Small Doses
Even if your pooch belongs to the lazy breed, they still need to get up and move. Lazy dog breeds can still get a burst of energy. If your pooch is easily tired out after a few minutes, use it to engage them to play fetch, run, or take a walk. A short exercise is better than nothing at all.
If you have younger dogs, engage them in small doses of exercise in between short naps.
For older dogs that might be suffering from a health condition, make sure to consult the vet about the best way for them to exercise and stay active.
Establish a Routine
Taking your dog outdoors to exercise is a great way to get them excited and motivated. Set a schedule for walking and playing at around the same time every day. This will help your dog establish a routine and get excited for a fun exercise session with you within a few weeks.
To make sure that you and your dog can maintain the exercise routine, choose a time that works best for both of you. If your pooch likes to sleep in the morning, take them on an afternoon walk so they are well-rested and have the energy to enjoy their little adventure.
Find Activities that Interest Your Dog
Some dogs prefer off-leash hiking, which allows them to explore and sniff the area and meet other dogs. If you are on a hike, it gives them a chance to greet every person or dog they come across.
Dog breeds, like Baxters, can enjoy a 2-hour hike. On the other hand, this can be extraneous for a low-energy pooch. Taking them for a hike can leave them exhausted and often end up refusing to walk too far on the next day.
Go for Walks Regularly
Even if you spoil your dogs with many toys, a daily walk with your dog is an important part of their health and well-being. Regular dog walking does not only stimulates their cognitive functions and senses but also gives them the opportunity to socialize with other dogs in the neighbourhood. Taking your dog for a walk regularly (3 20-minute walks a day) can help them utilize their extra energy and enjoy their life.
However, not all dogs are created equal. The amount of exercise they require depends on their age, health condition, breed, and personality. After you get a go signal from your vet, it is a fun idea to prepare your dog for hiking and take them for a small journey in the woods or mountain, enjoy a day at the beach, take a trip to the countryside, or go to a dog park. Changing their routine and environment prevents boredom, sparks their curiosity, and gives them a new adventure every time
A responsible dog owner ensures that their furry friend is healthy and physical and mentally stimulated. As much as you want to take your dog outside for an exercise, there are certain days when you are too busy to take them for a walk. Consider hiring a professional dog walker if you are preoccupied with your job or household chore.
Hot Diggity Dogs employs trustworthy and reliable dog walkers to ensure that your furry friend is in good hands. Give us a call at (647) 901-9103 to learn more about our dog walking services in Etobicoke.