Your dog loves a good snooze just like you do. But when he does more sleeping than strutting, he's getting lazy. Lack of exercise can lead to weight problems, digestive issues and destructive, attention-getting behavior. Mental stimulation, through obedience training and food-puzzle toys, is important when getting your dog moving.
Visit the Veterinarian
Before you can fix your pooch's desire to lie around, it's important to find out the cause. If he seems more lethargic than lazy, he could have underlying health problems. Perhaps he's suffering from depression because someone in the family went away. Maybe heart worm or a uterine infection called pyometraor is present. In addition, your dog may have nutrition deficiencies from an unbalanced diet. Whatever the cause, a veterinarian can give you advice and medicine to help clear the problem.
An unmotivated dog needs attention. All healthy dogs benefit from a brisk, half-hour, daily walk on a leash. Go to the park, walk around the neighborhood or, if your dog is more than 18 months old, take him for jog. In a fenced area, play fetch, teach him to jump or have him swim with you. However, take into consideration your dog's age, size and breed. For example, an older Labradoodle is prone to arthritis and hip dysplasia, so a 10-minute walk might be sufficient. Short walks and smaller bouts of play are best for a bulldog or pug. His flat nose makes it difficult to breathe, especially in warm weather.
Stimulate the laziness out of your dog with hide-and-seek and retrieval games. Long-lasting bones, rope toys with knots at the end and hard rubber chew toys with a treat inside keep dogs distracted, challenged and entertained. Another way to engage your dog is through obedience classes and training exercises. Consider instituting clicker training, using a sound to get your dog to do something, for 5 minutes a day. Obedience training, such as learning commands on cue, stimulates a dog's mind because it keeps him guessing which command he'll obey next.
Establish a Routine
Dogs do best on a routine. It allows the dog control over his emotions and environment because he knows what to expect next. Feeding, potty trips, walks and crate time are all activities that should be done at roughly around the same time every day. When your dog's brain is stimulated, he'll look forward to his activities and desire your companionship, physical exercise and mental challenges.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.