I Don’t Have Time to Exercise My Dog

My Shark

I don’t know how many times I have heard it… People have a problem and come to me and I almost always recommend exercise and they are quick to say WHY they don’t have the time or ability to exercise their dogs.

One lady said she was in a wheelchair, but…

Even if you are in a wheelchair you can have your dog pull, or run alongside you to get the exercise his mind and his body needs!  You don’t have to be a marathon runner to exercise your dog!

Remember I worked with Service Dogs for most of my career and taught them to run next to or pull my chair so I don’t take many excuses to heart!

If you work long days, get up a half hour or an hour early to take care of your dog.

One woman tried to convince me a block run/walk was enough exercise for her small dog.  But I don’t care if you have a Chihuahua or a Great Dane, unless he is seriously old or dysplastic he needs more exercise than a block or three runs around the yard will give him.

And another said she wanted to exercise her dog in the summer heat and “Don’t even tell me to take him swimming, because the nearest swimming hole is 20 minutes away”…  Ummmm I drive 6 hours to and from training some days so 20 minutes for a cool dip and something your dog needs really doesn’t seem like that much of an inconvenience??   I wonder if she would drive that far to take her kids or grand kids to the movie theater or to a game?

Dogs are an investment and they can’t take care of themselves, they have basic needs.  You can’t be lazy and own a young, or young minded dog.

If your dog is digging, barking, jumping on you, shredding your things or his toys, stealing things, chasing the cat… it is because he is BORED!!!!

Instead of watching American Idol, Survivor or Dancing with the Stars; DVR it and get outside with your dog to fulfill his/her needs.

Even geriatric or dysplastic dogs have exercise needs!

But I have gone over most of that in my article THIS is What I Mean By Exercise; to read and understand that a block doesn’t cut it, it click here.

I will admit, reluctantly….

This is great physical and mental stimulation!

Some Days You Can’t Exercise Them

It may be too HOT or COLD or RAINY or (if you live in Wyoming), too WINDY or you or your dog may be under the weather.

But let me be clear, there is no excuse for not consistently meeting your dog’s exercise and other basic, simple needs!

And, let me be clear that physical exercise is not ALL your dog needs.

Your Dog Also Needs Mental Stimulation

He has a brain and he needs to use it!

When you can’t exercise him outside, you can and need to ramp up the training you do with him, perhaps inside.

Exercise is just one fundamental need he has and when you can’t provide him with physical tiredness, his mental stimulation needs to be ramped up to help tire him out.

Mental Stimulation can be Exhausting too!

When I Go to an All Day Seminar

When I take a class and I am required to “learn” all day, I am exhausted.

Learning something new and giving something your undivided attention takes effort and skill.

It can also be exhausting for your dog which is a good thing, and what we want!  A tired dog is a good dog, right?

And, when he is tired he is not chewing things he shouldn’t, or chasing the cat, or getting in the trash.  Instead, because his needs are being met he is napping and being a good pet.

Imagine…. If You Will

Imagine being locked in a room with four white walls (no TV, no books, no window) and only a sofa.

First you would sit on the sofa and nap a bit, but then you would start to go crazy.

You might pace around the room or try and do some exercise so you could sleep some more; but eventually, my guess, is you would end up shredding that sofa just like your dog does to the “treasures” he finds.

He shreds things and gets in trouble so that he can stimulate himself.

Even if someone came and let you out and took you for a 10 mile run, you’d probably come home to your room and rest for a while; but after a bit you would want something that would entertain your brain.  Even if you had to run or walk 26.2 miles (a marathon) you will still want something else to do that day right?

As Humans We are Almost Constantly Over Stimulated

Most Dogs Don’t Get Anything out of Dance Moms

We have televisions, books, computers, smart phones, IPads, Music, Games, cars, exercise, family, friends and basically anything we want whenever we want it.   When was the last time you just sat alone with NOTHING going on, in a completely sterile environment?  My guess is it has been a long time (if ever).

But we expect our dogs to be happy just wasting away in our homes.

We might give them toys, but how often do we PLAY with them or TEACH them something new?

How to Exercise Your Dog without Exercise?

Train him!


Work on basic obedience if that is what he knows

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Eye contact and focus
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Heel
  • Finding Heel

Advanced Dog Obedience

Or focus on more advanced dog obedience like working towards

  • Off leash obedience
  • Down on Recall
  •  In Motion Down or Sit
  • Downs, sits and stands from a distance (go out 20 feet and see if your dog listens)
  • Stand
  • Pivots

Thanks Sticker Giant I Couldn’t Agree More!

Teach Him Tricks

It doesn’t matter WHAT you teach him, it only matters that you are entertaining his brain!  Tricks are just as entertaining to him as working on obedience and he is learning to listen to you either way!

Soon we will be launching a new trick training program!

Give Him a Job

If he thinks you NEED him to pick things up for you, or to be with you during the day while you work at home or on your computer then he will be happier.

The happiest dogs I have ever met or worked with are true working dogs; either police dogs that go to work with their owners or Assistance Dogs that work for their disabled partners.   They feel needed, and let’s face it we all want to feel needed.

Now before I end this article, let me say I realized there will be the naysayers saying “But you didn’t teach us how to do all that dog obedience”.

Let me address that by saying if I did, this article would actually be a book, not an article.

And, to get help with that check out our training programs

Hands Off Dog Training  One of our most popular programs

Puppy Programming Includes over 60 videos to teach you basic, intermediate and advanced obedience for your puppy OR DOG!

Video Vault   Training videos that are updated each month allowing you to watch videos and train at your own pace

And, you can search our blog for specific articles you may be looking for; the search bar in on the right of the page.

If you want a specific command or concept to teach your dog, ask away and I will provide the answer in another article!


Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.


  1. Pat May says:

    There are not many days when we can’t exercise our dogs outdoors but if it’s stormy and raining so hard then the dogs don’t want to go out in it and neither do we. On these days we have an indoor activity day. We only have a little house but we still manage. We do rally obedience in which there are nearly 50 exercises to choose from with all sorts of recalls and moves to keep a dog interested. Then there’s indoor agility. A couple of small jumps can be rigged up and the stairs come into use as an A frame. If you have room you can set up an indoor weave using flower pots as cones. After all this excitement it’s time for some doggy dancing. We’ve become quite good at line dancing. There are various moves you can teach your dog, leg weaving, walking backwards, twirl and lots more. If you have a herding dog you can try treibball. You’ll need a large gym ball which the dog learns to herd. Ours love this. Finally we do some games. I put lots of dog toys in a another room and then dogs are sent to fetch them all back again. Hide and seek is a great fun and very noisy game where the dogs are left in one room while you hide in another and then call them. There are so many things you can do to stop a dog getting bored.
    There is no real substitute for a good walk though. If the weather is very hot you just need a good alarm clock to wake you up early enough to go out when it’s cool. If you have to go to work the alarm clock comes in handy to wake you up in time to take the dogs out first. I’ve done it. On rotten winter days in the dark with a head torch and the dogs have still enjoyed themselves. I never left them all day. If I did I would pay a dog walker to exercise them. I hope this gives everyone some ideas. Have fun with your dogs.


    Minette Reply:

    I agree and great ideas!!!

    I use plungers (you know the really cheap dollar store ones) sucked to the hard wood floor as weave poles ha ha.

    Dogs need entertaining and exercise 😉


  2. Nancy wright says:

    Hi. Love your plunger idea for weaving. I had not thought of that. We have taught our dog jake to pick up keys, cell phone, remote, slippers, shoes, leash, etc so we put them all in a pile and he has to get what we ask him to get. Sometimes we hide some of the things in different rooms and he has to find them. On other bad weather days I take my banjo and Jake and we visit nursing homes and retirement centers and he will do the leave it when offered a treat, roll over, sit up, etc. Learned the leave it and go to your bed with the clicker from your course.

    We rescued Jake from the Humane Society in Grand Rapids, Mi in July of 2012. He will be 2 in May and is a black lab, short hair pointer mix. Our black labs, sister and brother died in 2010 and 2012 respectively and we were not going to get any more dogs as we are 70 and 75 yrs old respectively and have two cats rescued 12 yrs ago that we love to death, but we were turning into couch potatoes as in our 50 yrs of marriage have always had at least one dog while working and raising our two kids. Now Jake is enjoying learning to ride in a golf cart, meeting new Florida dog friends, including cows in the pasture down the road. He watches us pitch horse shoes and play tennis, and then he knows he goes for walk and for a swim.

    Thanks for all your good tips. Poor Jake doesn,t know if he lives in Michigan or Florida. Don’t think he cares.

    Thanks again. People that don’t take the time to stimulate their pets don’t know what their missing.

    Tom and Nancy wright


    Minette Reply:

    I want to be one of your dogs!!!!

    Good for you!!! You guys are awesome!


  3. Nancy wright says:

    Hi again, forgot to mention in my above post that we take Jake almost everyday to the dog park here in Florida, Dana’s Bark park which is 3 fenced acres and has a A nice filtered swimming pond, and when we are in Michigan we are lucky to have the number 3 rated 23 acre dog park in the US with swimming pond with a fountain which is 17 miles from our house which he goes to about every other day. Granted we are retired and have more time than people who are working, but we have half the energy. We take our daughter’s 120 pound yellow lab with us when we go as with their family responsibilities free time is harder to find. Maybe the working people could find an active retired person to take their dog to a dog park. Proper socialization is so important for your dog and makes it easier on the owner too. We have a jam session at our house tonight and Jake is so tired from all the running and swimming that he will sleep through all of the guitar and banjo country and bluegrass music as he does every week. I think their should be a club for dog owners to they could trade services, dog walking, etc. Our dog park in Michigan, Shaggy Pines, offers a shuttle service and 2 hour dog park visit for a nominal fee.

    If you acquire a pet, that is a 10 to 15 year commitment in most cases, and shouldn’t be taken lightly, or a pet shouldn’t be brought home just because the kids want one. Pet ownership is expensive and a big responsibility and I wish people would think before they bring a puppy or kitten home because they are so cute. They are work and in some cases people take a pet to a shelter because they are now a year old and are not quite as cute when they do things that were cute when they were young.

    Time to get off my soap box and check out cheap plungers.

    TX again for all of the good tips.

    Nancy and Tom


    Minette Reply:

    sure!!l You’ll love the plunger idea 😉


  4. I have a one year old Black Lab.
    I’m having a hard time leash training him, he doesn’t seem to listen to me.
    I am also having problems with him chasing and barking at people.
    I am wondering if you can send me something that will him understand what is expected of him.
    I am very frustrated.
    Don’t if it’s me or he just doesn’t want to lear n.


  5. I have a one year old Black Lab.
    I’m having a hard time leash training him, he doesn’t seem to listen to me.
    I am also having problems with him chasing and barking at people.
    I am wondering if you can send me something that will him understand what is expected of him.
    I am very frustrated.
    Don’t if it’s me or he just doesn’t want to learn.


  6. nancy c says:

    I have a 1 year old white lab chow mix that is afraid of everything. Especially young children. We do not have any children in our neiborhood any more and don’t know anyone with young children. She also is afraid of the newspaper. Also when we go for walks she is good on our way out but pulls and gets nervous on the way back. The closer we get to home the more she pulls. Please give me some clue to help her.


    Minette Reply:

    I would work on eye contact and focus and teaching her to trust and relax. I would look into our companion dog program. Email customer service at info@thedogtrainingsecret.com for more information on when it will begin again


  7. Lyn 4817 says:

    I am unable to exercise my dog due to medical issues which greatly restrict any activity. We now have a Labrador Cross, prior to him we had a Rottweiler. It makes no difference the bred, they do need exercise. I purchased an electric Scooter which everyone sees the elderly or disabled using. I purchased a sturdy four wheeler so I can take my dog for his run. He adores it, as did our previous dog. When I can’t do it, my husband takes delight in using the scooter, to take our beloved dog for his run. We live in the tropics so we are restricted when it gets too hot during summer. We can get him into the pool, but he refuses to swim, yet he plunges into the river. He was adopted at the age of 7mths. Anyone have any suggestion in encouraging a dog to swim. He has no one favourite toy, he only has eyes for his chew bone. That doesn’t float.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *