As a devoted Shih Tzu owner, you want nothing but the best for your furry companion. One way to keep them healthy and happy is through regular exercise. However, sometimes it can be a challenge to find suitable activities to do with your Shih Tzu indoors. Fear not, as we have compiled a list of 5 fun indoor exercise ideas for your Shih Tzu that will not only provide entertainment but also benefit their physical and mental health. From playing hide-and-seek to mastering the stair climber, these activities will keep your pup engaged and active. So, let’s dive in!

Why Indoor Exercise is Important for Your Shih Tzu

Why Indoor Exercise Is Important For Your Shih Tzu
Keeping your Shih Tzu fit and healthy should be a top priority for any responsible pet owner. While outdoor exercise is important, sometimes it’s not always an option due to weather or other circumstances. That’s why indoor exercise is crucial for your furry friend’s health and happiness. In this section, we will discuss why indoor exercise is important for your Shih Tzu, including the benefits it provides such as preventing health issues, reducing behavioral problems, and maintaining a healthy weight. So, let’s dive in and explore how indoor exercise can help your Shih Tzu thrive!

Preventing Health Issues

Regular indoor exercise is crucial for your Shih Tzu to stay healthy and happy. A lack of physical activity can lead to a variety of health issues, including obesity, heart disease, joint problems, and even behavioral issues. According to the American Kennel Club, Shih Tzus require daily exercise to maintain optimal health.

By engaging in indoor exercise, you can help prevent these health issues from arising. Indoor exercise is especially important for Shih Tzus who are sensitive to extreme temperatures and may not be able to tolerate outdoor exercise in hot or cold weather. It’s also beneficial for senior Shih Tzus who may not have the stamina for outdoor exercise like they used to.

Regular indoor exercise helps promote cardiovascular health which reduces the risk of heart disease for your furry pal. It also helps to keep their muscles and joints strong and flexible, reducing the chance of injuries and joint problems in the future. Exercise also helps to stimulate your Shih Tzu’s mind, which is important for preventing depression, anxiety, and other behavioral issues.

In addition to preventing health issues, indoor exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight for your Shih Tzu. Obesity is a common health problem in Shih Tzus, which can lead to a myriad of health issues. Indoor exercise, combined with a healthy diet, can help your furry friend maintain a healthy weight and live a healthier life.

Indoor exercise plays a vital role in keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy. By incorporating a variety of indoor exercise activities, you can help prevent health issues, maintain a healthy weight, and keep your furry pal mentally stimulated. But it’s important to remember that not all indoor exercise is created equal. It’s important to choose activities that are safe and appropriate for your Shih Tzu’s age and fitness level. For more information on indoor exercise and other training tips, check out our other articles.

Reducing Behavioral Problems

Indoor exercise is not only important for physical health but it can also have a significant impact on a Shih Tzu’s behavior. In fact, many behavioral problems can stem from a lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Providing fun indoor exercise ideas for your Shih Tzu is a great way to reduce behavioral problems and create a healthy, happy pet.

Benefits of Indoor Exercise on Behavioral Issues:

Reduces Anxiety:Indoor exercise can reduce anxiety and stress in Shih Tzus, which can lead to destructive behavior. Exercise helps to release endorphins which are natural stress relievers. A fun game of Hide and Seek or an Obstacle Course can provide mental stimulation and reduce anxiety.
Prevents Boredom:Boredom can manifest in destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, or barking excessively. Indoor exercise provides physical activity and mental stimulation which can keep Shih Tzus entertained and satisfied.
Improves Socialization:Indoor exercise can be a great opportunity for socialization, especially for Shih Tzus who are shy or anxious around new people and animals. Setting up an obstacle course or playing a game of fetch with a snuffle mat can improve their confidence and social skills.

It’s important to remember that indoor exercise should not replace outdoor exercise entirely. Shih Tzus still require fresh air, sunlight and different experiences that come with outdoor exercise. However, indoor exercise can certainly complement outdoor exercise and help you establish a daily routine for your Shih Tzu.

If you want to learn more about outdoor exercise for your Shih Tzu, you can read our article on Shih Tzu Outdoor Exercise. It’s also beneficial to know what Shih Tzu exercise mistakes to avoid, especially when starting with indoor exercises.

For senior Shih Tzu, it’s important to follow specific exercise tips, as they may have different physical limitations. Lastly, if you want new indoor exercise ideas for Shih Tzu, refer to our article about Shih Tzu exercise toys and games, to keep your pup both entertained and healthy.

Maintaining Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for a Shih Tzu’s overall well-being. Obesity can lead to various health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. In fact, Shih Tzus are prone to gaining weight easily due to their love for food and their tendency to be lazy. Indoor exercise plays a pivotal role in ensuring your furry friend stays healthy and maintains an ideal weight.

To help you achieve this, here are a few indoor exercise ideas that will keep your Shih Tzu active and healthy:

Exercise IdeaDescription
Hide and SeekHide treats around the house and encourage your Shih Tzu to find them. This will not only stimulate their mental abilities but also keep them physically active.
Snuffle MatA snuffle mat is a great way to engage your Shih Tzu’s natural sniffing instincts. Hide small treats within the mat and let your furry friend find them.
Stair MasterIf you have a staircase in your home, use it to your advantage. Encourage your Shih Tzu to run up and down the stairs. This will help them burn calories and build muscle.
Obstacle CourseCreate an obstacle course in your home using pillows, chairs, and other household items. Guide your Shih Tzu through the course and reward them with treats for completing it successfully.
Treadmill TrainingIf you have a treadmill at home, train your Shih Tzu to use it. Start slow and gradually increase the speed and duration of the exercise. This can be a great way for your furry friend to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.

Remember to always monitor your Shih Tzu’s physical condition during exercise. Signs of fatigue or overexertion may include excessive panting, drooling, or disinterest in the activity. If you notice any of these signs, stop the exercise immediately and allow your furry friend to rest.

By incorporating these indoor exercise ideas into your Shih Tzu’s routine, you can ensure that they maintain a healthy weight and avoid any potential health issues associated with obesity.

5 Fun Indoor Exercise Ideas for Your Shih Tzu

5 Fun Indoor Exercise Ideas For Your Shih Tzu
As a Shih Tzu owner, finding ways to keep your furry friend entertained and active during colder months or rainy days can be a challenge. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some five fun indoor exercise ideas that will keep your Shih Tzu healthy, happy, and entertained. These activities promote exercise and mental stimulation while providing an opportunity for you and your furry companion to bond. Plus, most of them are easy to set up and require little to no equipment. Let’s explore these fun activities that your Shih Tzu will surely love!

Hide and Seek

One of the most enjoyable indoor exercises for Shih Tzus is a game of Hide and Seek. This is an excellent activity for beginners, and it doesn’t require any special equipment or a lot of space.

How to Play Hide and Seek with Your Shih Tzu

1. Get your Shih Tzu’s attention and make sure they know that you have a treat with you.

2. Choose a hiding spot in your home, such as behind a door or under a table.

3. Say “find me!” in an excited voice, and wait for your Shih Tzu to come and find you.

4. When they find you, reward them with the treat and lots of praise.

5. Repeat the game, choosing new hiding spots each time.

Benefits of Playing Hide and Seek with Your Shih Tzu

Playing Hide and Seek with your Shih Tzu has not only physical but also mental benefits. It increases your dog’s cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, and stimulates their sense of smell.

Tips to Make Hide and Seek More Fun

To make this game more entertaining, you can hide several treats around the room for your Shih Tzu to find. This encourages them to keep searching for hidden goodies and makes the game more challenging. You can even make this game into a family activity by taking turns hiding and seeking each other in different rooms.

Precautions to Keep in Mind

While Hide and Seek is a fun game, it’s essential to take precautions for your Shih Tzu’s safety. Do not hide in small spaces that might be challenging for your dog to reach or in areas where they could get stuck. Always monitor your Shih Tzu and ensure they do not become too excited or over-stimulated.

To sum it up, playing Hide and Seek is entertaining and beneficial for both you and your Shih Tzu. It’s a great way to bond with your furry friend while keeping their minds and bodies active.

Snuffle Mat

One of the fun indoor exercise ideas for your Shih Tzu is using a snuffle mat. A snuffle mat is a textured mat that is designed to hide treats or kibble in its folds. This exercise is great for your Shih Tzu’s mental stimulation and can keep them entertained for long periods.

How to Use a Snuffle Mat:

  1. Start by placing the snuffle mat on a flat surface and sprinkle some kibble on it.
  2. Encourage your Shih Tzu to start sniffing for the kibble amongst the mat’s folds.
  3. Once they have found all the kibble, you can either refill the mat or take a break and try a different exercise.

Benefits of Using a Snuffle Mat:

  • Mental Stimulation: This exercise will encourage your Shih Tzu to use their sense of smell to find the hidden kibble, providing mental stimulation and entertainment.
  • Slow Feeding: A snuffle mat is a great way to slow down your Shih Tzu’s eating habits as they will have to work for their food.
  • Reducing Destructive Behavior: Snuffle mats can help reduce boredom and destructive behavior that may arise from being indoors for long periods.

Tips for Using a Snuffle Mat:

  1. Start with a small amount of kibble in the snuffle mat to avoid overwhelming your Shih Tzu.
  2. Supervise your Shih Tzu while they use the snuffle mat to prevent them from tearing it apart.
  3. Wash the snuffle mat regularly to prevent any bacteria buildup from the food.

Incorporating a snuffle mat into your Shih Tzu’s indoor exercise routine can provide physical and mental benefits for your furry friend, making it a great choice for those rainy or snowy days when outdoor exercise may not be possible.

Stair Master

Another fun indoor exercise idea for your shih tzu is the Stair Master. This is a great way to get your pup’s heart rate up and burn some extra energy.

How to do it:

1. Find a set of stairs in your home that are safe for your dog to use.
2. Start by having your shih tzu walk up and down the stairs slowly. If your dog is hesitant or afraid, try using treats to lure them up and down the stairs.
3. Increase the intensity by having your shih tzu run up and down the stairs. Be sure to supervise them closely to prevent any accidents or injuries.
4. For an added challenge, you can have your shih tzu skip every other step or change direction after each flight of stairs.
5. Be sure to give your shih tzu plenty of water breaks and stop the activity if they show signs of fatigue or overexertion.

Benefits of stair climbing for dogs:

– Stair climbing is a great cardiovascular workout that can help your shih tzu maintain a healthy weight.
– It can also help strengthen your dog’s muscles, particularly in their hind legs and hips.
– Climbing stairs can be mentally stimulating for your pup, providing them with an added challenge and promoting cognitive function.


Excellent cardiovascular workoutMust have access to stairs
Strengthens muscles and promotes healthy weightCan be challenging for older or less active dogs
Mentally stimulatingRequires close supervision to prevent injury

Stair climbing is a great way to get your shih tzu moving and provide them with a fun and challenging indoor exercise activity. As with any exercise, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity to prevent injury or overexertion. Be sure to monitor your pup closely and stop the activity if they show any signs of fatigue or discomfort.

Obstacle Course

One of the most challenging and stimulating indoor exercises that you can try with your Shih Tzu is building an obstacle course. Obstacle courses are great for providing a full-body workout that can improve stamina, coordination, and agility. Plus, they can be a lot of fun for both you and your furry friend. Here are some steps for creating a fun and safe obstacle course for your Shih Tzu:

  • Clean and Clear: First, clear out a space in your home that is obstacle-course friendly. Choose an area with plenty of open space and minimal furniture or obstacles to avoid injury to your pet. Sweep and vacuum the area to make sure it’s free of debris your pet may trip on or slip on.
  • Build Your Obstacles: Once you have a clear area, you can start building obstacles that provide just enough challenge without being impossible for your dog to complete. You can build jumps using household items like broomsticks or use pillows or socks to create tunnels for your Shih Tzu to crawl through.
  • Start Small: Introduce your Shih Tzu to each obstacle one at a time to ensure that they are comfortable with it. Use treats and positive reinforcement to motivate your pet, so they feel confident and comfortable with each obstacle.
  • Gradually Increase Difficulty: Once your Shih Tzu is comfortable with each obstacle, increase the difficulty level slowly. Use different objects, heights, and angles to challenge your dog and keep them engaged. That way, they won’t get bored and will learn new skills as they improve.
  • End on a High Note: Always end the obstacle course on a positive note. Praise your Shih Tzu and reward them with a treat. This will help them associate the experience as positive, making it more likely that they will enjoy it in the future.

Remember that your Shih Tzu’s safety is of the utmost importance, so keep a watchful eye on them throughout the entire obstacle course. If you notice signs of fatigue or overexertion, take a break and give your pet a rest. With consistency and practice, your Shih Tzu will be able to tackle the obstacle course like a pro.

Treadmill Training

One indoor exercise idea that might surprise you is treadmill training for your Shih Tzu! Yes, that’s right, you can train your furry friend to walk on a treadmill like a pro. It’s important to note that treadmill training should only be done under constant supervision and with caution. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Start by introducing your Shih Tzu to the treadmill while it’s turned off. Allow them to sniff around and get familiar with the machine.
  • Once they seem comfortable with the machine, turn it on to the lowest speed and place them on the belt. Keep them leashed and hold onto the leash tightly.
  • Reward them with praise and treats for walking on the treadmill. Gradually increase the speed to a comfortable walking pace for your dog.
  • If your Shih Tzu seems hesitant or anxious, it’s okay to stop for the day and try again later.
  • Never force your dog to stay on the treadmill if they’re uncomfortable or seem exhausted. Always make sure they have access to water and take breaks as needed.

Treadmill training can be a great indoor exercise option for Shih Tzus who live in areas with extreme weather conditions or don’t have access to outdoor areas for regular walks. It’s also a great way to maintain your dog’s exercise routine during the colder months. However, it’s important to remember that treadmill training should always be done safely and with caution.

Training Your Shih Tzu for Indoor Exercise

As important as it is to provide your Shih Tzu with opportunities for exercise, it’s equally crucial to ensure they’re trained properly for indoor activities. While some Shih Tzus may require more training than others, every dog can benefit from positive reinforcement and consistency in their exercise routines. In this section, we’ll explore some tips for training your furry friend for indoor exercise, as well as the importance of setting realistic goals and watching for signs of fatigue. So grab a treat, bring your Shih Tzu, and let’s get started on building a healthy and happy exercise routine.

Positive Reinforcement Training

When it comes to training your Shih Tzu for indoor exercise, positive reinforcement training is key. This method of training focuses on rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. Here are some tips to incorporate positive reinforcement training into your indoor exercise routine:

  • Use treats: Whenever your Shih Tzu performs the desired behavior, reward them with a treat. Make sure the treat is small and low in calories to prevent overfeeding.
  • Praise: In addition to treats, make sure to praise your Shih Tzu with a happy tone of voice and lots of petting. Dogs love attention, and this positive reinforcement will help them associate good behavior with love and affection.
  • Consistency: Be consistent with your rewards. Only reward your Shih Tzu when they perform the desired behavior, and ignore any undesired behavior. This will teach them that good behavior is the only way to receive attention and rewards.
  • Clicker training: Consider using a clicker to train your Shih Tzu. This device helps to mark the exact moment the desired behavior occurs so your dog can associate the sound with the reward.

By using positive reinforcement training, your Shih Tzu will learn to enjoy their indoor exercise routine and look forward to spending time with you. It is important to note that this type of training takes time and consistency, but the results are well worth it. Remember to always be patient and kind with your furry friend!

Consistency is Key

Consistency is the key to any successful indoor exercising routine. You should ensure that you regularly incorporate exercise into your Shih Tzu’s daily routine. Consistent exercise will help to keep your pup physically and mentally stimulated, which can prevent any behavioral problems that may arise from boredom or lack of exercise.

Here are some tips for maintaining consistency:

  • Set a Schedule: Set aside time each day for your Shih Tzu’s workout routine. Stick to the schedule as much as possible, as routine and repetition help develop good exercise habits.
  • Mix It Up: Variety is important when it comes to exercise. Rotate between the different indoor exercise ideas we’ve listed to keep things fresh and exciting for your pup.
  • Involve the Whole Family: Get the whole family involved in exercising your Shih Tzu. Not only will your pup benefit from the exercise, but it’s also a great way to spend quality time together.
  • Make it a Positive Experience: Positive reinforcement is crucial. Praise and rewards for good behavior during exercise will encourage your Shih Tzu to enjoy and look forward to the workout routine.

By maintaining consistency in your Shih Tzu’s indoor exercise routine, you’ll soon start to notice positive changes in their overall health, behavior, and energy levels.

Setting Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is essential to ensure that your Shih Tzu stays motivated and engaged during indoor exercise. It is important to consider your Shih Tzu’s age, physical abilities, and current fitness level when setting goals for indoor exercise.

Age: If your Shih Tzu is a senior dog, it’s important to keep in mind that they may not have the same energy levels and physical abilities as a younger dog. Setting goals that are too high may cause them to become fatigued or overexerted, so it’s important to adjust goals accordingly.

Physical Abilities: Take note of your Shih Tzu’s physical abilities. If they have pre-existing medical conditions that limit their mobility or require certain restrictions, it’s important to adjust exercise goals that are appropriate for their needs.

Current Fitness Level: It’s also important to take into account your Shih Tzu’s current fitness level. If your Shih Tzu is new to exercise or has been sedentary for a while, it’s important to start with easier exercises and gradually progress towards more challenging ones.

To help you set realistic goals for your Shih Tzu, refer to the table below:

Age of DogPhysical AbilitiesCurrent Fitness LevelIdeal Indoor Exercise Goals
Young (under 2 years)No physical limitationsFit and activeChallenging exercises like obstacle courses and treadmill training
Adult (2-6 years)No physical limitationsFit and activeChallenging exercises like obstacle courses and treadmill training
Senior (over 6 years)May have physical limitationsMay have decreased activity levelsLow-impact exercises like snuffle mats and stair climbing
Recovering from injury or illnessMay have physical limitationsMay be sedentaryGentle exercises like hide and seek and snuffle mats

By setting goals that are realistic and appropriate for your Shih Tzu, you can ensure that they stay engaged, motivated and healthy during indoor exercise routines. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new exercise regimen, and to watch for any signs of fatigue or overexertion during your indoor exercise sessions.

Watch for Signs of Fatigue or Overexertion

As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to watch for signs of fatigue or overexertion during indoor exercise sessions with your Shih Tzu. Here are some pointers to help you spot these signs:

  • Heavy panting: While panting is normal for dogs during exercise, excessive panting, especially with drooling, suggests that your Shih Tzu is overheated and may need to take a break.
  • Lagging behind or lying down: If your Shih Tzu is lagging behind, reluctant to move, or lying down during exercise, it could be a sign of fatigue or exhaustion. Allow your dog to take a break and rest until he or she is ready to continue.
  • Limping or favoring a limb: Watch for any signs of limping, favoring a limb or lameness. It could indicate an injury or strain that needs veterinary attention.
  • Excessive thirst: If your Shih Tzu seems excessively thirsty during or after an indoor exercise session, it could indicate dehydration. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water and take frequent water breaks during exercise.
  • Pale gums: Check your Shih Tzu’s gums for any signs of paleness, which could indicate oxygen deprivation or anemia. Seek veterinary attention if you notice this symptom.

It’s important to remember that every Shih Tzu is different and has their own unique exercise tolerance. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize your dog’s limits and adjust exercise sessions accordingly. Always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new exercise regimen, particularly if your dog has any pre-existing health conditions. By keeping a close eye on your Shih Tzu’s behavior and physical state during exercise, you can help prevent injury and ensure a safe, happy indoor workout session.


In conclusion, providing your Shih Tzu with regular indoor exercise is crucial to their overall health and well-being. Not only does it prevent health issues such as obesity and joint problems, but it also reduces the chances of behavioral issues like anxiety and destructive behavior.

By incorporating fun and engaging activities like hide and seek, snuffle mats, stair climbing, obstacle courses, and treadmill training, you can create a stimulating and exciting environment for your furry friend. It is important to remember that each dog has their own unique set of abilities and limitations, and it is essential to pay attention and adjust the exercises accordingly.

When training your Shih Tzu for indoor exercise, positive reinforcement and consistency are key. Setting realistic goals based on their individual capabilities is important, and it is essential to monitor signs of fatigue or overexertion during the exercise routine.

Overall, a Shih Tzu who receives regular indoor exercise will lead a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. So, grab your furry friend and start incorporating these fun exercises into your daily routine today!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I exercise my Shih Tzu indoors only?

Yes, you can exercise your Shih Tzu indoors only. In fact, it’s a great way to keep your pup active and healthy when outdoor exercise is limited.

2. How often should I exercise my Shih Tzu indoors?

You should aim to exercise your Shih Tzu indoors for at least 20-30 minutes a day, depending on their age and activity level.

3. Is it safe to use a treadmill for indoor exercise with my Shih Tzu?

Yes, it can be safe to use a treadmill for indoor exercise with your Shih Tzu, but it’s important to start slow and supervise your pup carefully.

4. How do I create an obstacle course for my Shih Tzu?

You can create an obstacle course for your Shih Tzu using household items like chairs, boxes, and tunnels. Be sure to make it safe and supervise your pup closely.

5. Can hide and seek help with my Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety?

Yes, hide and seek can be a great way to help with your Shih Tzu’s separation anxiety by keeping them mentally stimulated and distracted from your absence.

6. Do I need to train my Shih Tzu for indoor exercises?

Yes, it’s important to train your Shih Tzu for indoor exercises to ensure their safety, build their confidence, and make the experience enjoyable for both you and your pup.

7. Can I use treats for positive reinforcement training?

Yes, you can use treats for positive reinforcement training with your Shih Tzu. Just be sure to use them in moderation and choose healthy options.

8. Should I change up my indoor exercise routine for my Shih Tzu?

Yes, changing up your indoor exercise routine for your Shih Tzu can help keep them engaged, prevent boredom, and challenge their physical and mental abilities.

9. How do I know if my Shih Tzu is overexerting during indoor exercise?

You can watch for signs of fatigue, heavy panting, lethargy, or collapse during indoor exercise with your Shih Tzu. It’s important to start slow and rest when needed.

10. Are there any indoor exercise options for senior or less active Shih Tzu?

Yes, you can modify indoor exercise options for senior or less active Shih Tzu by using slower movements, shorter sessions, and low-impact activities like snuffle mats or puzzle toys.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make Doggolab a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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