A tired dog is a good dog.
We know Dobermans need more exercise and mental stimulation than the average dog. And walking is a great activity for dogs and well as their owners. Not only is walking good for fitness but it also helps with dogs who experience separation anxiety or nervousness.
But sometimes for various reasons, it might not be the best option for you and your dog. Maybe you live in an area where the climate is extremely cold. Dobermans have short fur and lean bodies which aren’t optimal in freezing temperatures. Or maybe the owner has health issues, a handicap, or they are older and finding it hard to properly handle a large strong dog. Other obstacles to walks might include: a dog who is aggressive toward other dogs, you live in an area that’s unsafe or high in crime, you have a leash pulling dog, a dog with an injury or you just don’t have the time.
While I personally love allowing my dogs a leash free run, it’s sometimes not the best alternative to a walk. In some areas, dogs must always be on a leash or you risk getting fined. Also, if you come across a small animal like a squirrel, you risk your dog running after it and maybe even running into traffic. Another risk which I have experienced with two of my Dobes while running, they may fall into a groundhog hole giving them a permanent leg injury. And lastly, while you may have a friendly dog, some people have a fear of dogs. Imagine how they would feel if they saw a Doberman running towards them.
In an effort to help all the Doberman owners out there, I’ve come up with some options or alternatives to dog walks. I would suggest you try a couple different activities to see which ones your dog likes most.
- Play together with a flirt pole. You can either easily make a pole or buy one. This is my dogs favorite game. I’ve written about playing with flirt poles before.
- Blow bubbles at your dog to get him moving around. You can now buy Bacon Bubbles!
- Play indoors, running up and down the stairs.
- Take a car trip for mental stimulation. New smells are exciting to your dog.
- If you can only do a short slow walk, strap a weighted backpack on your dog. This should tire him out sooner.
- Play tug of war. Not only is it fun for the dog, but it encourages bonding between you and your Doberman. Ideally, he should be trained to drop the object if you ask.
- Play fetch or hide and seek indoors or outdoors in a fenced yard.
- Practice obedience or trick training. Again mental stimulation is important for Dobermans.
- Train your dog to walk on a treadmill.
- Give him dog puzzles or food dispensers. There are lots of treat dispensing toys on the market now, try a couple different ones. Depending on your dog’s intelligence, he may need an easier toy or a more challenging toy.
There you go, 10 activities for when you can’t walk your dog. I hope this list helps you. And if you have another activity suggestion please share it in the comments below.