Trick Training for Fitness

In the recent heat, Honey is a wilting flower.

Honey the Golden Retriever has lost her head in the heat.

OMD! Honey has completely lost her head in the heat.

Instead of spending her day upstairs on my down comforter, Honey stays downstairs, under a ceiling fan, and lies on the cool wooden floor.

She seeks out the floor fan so much I’m continually combing knots out of the fur behind her ears.

When I walk Honey, I’m barefoot too. And that pavement is hot!

How will we get our exercise when it’s too hot to move around outdoors for long? I’ve started trick training.

Honey the Golden Retriever lies under the couch to stay cool.

Is that you Honey?

Last week, I was inspired by a video of Koby doing lots of exciting dog tricks and asked my readers which trick I should teach Honey. You made lots of great suggestions.

Several of you said I should teach Honey how to put her paws over her eyes. I have no idea how to teach that so if you have instructions, please post them in the comments.

With the heat, I’m doing trick training to make up for the mental stimulation and some of the physical activity of our walks. Here’s what we’re working on:

  • Close the cupboard.
  • Go upstairs.
  • Circus (balance on her hind legs).
  • Beep, beep, beep (back up – thanks for the training method, Sue).
  • Weave (between my legs).

I’d love to post some video of our progress but my videographer is working 14 hour days to meet a work deadline. You’ll have to take my word for it that Honey is doing great.

But do tricks really enhance fitness?

I think so:

  • Some tricks, like going away from me up the stairs, are aerobic.
  • Standing on her hind legs isn’t easy for Honey. It helps her develop balance.
  • And all training stimulates her mind. After a short training session, Honey needs a short nap.

And at least it will keep us active and having fun while it’s too hot to walk or run for long.


Honey the golden Retriever stays under the couch where it's cool.

Yes, it’s me. Just trying to stay cool.
Good thing I’m not allergic to dust. You are a terrible housekeeper, Woman.

Your Turn: When weather prevents you from doing your normal fitness routines, how do you stay active with your dog? 

We’re happy to join Fit Dog Friday sponsored by Slim Doggy, Peggy’s Pet Place, and To Dog With Love. Slim Doggy has been nominated for a Petties for the best app. You can show some love by voting for them now.

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  1. You can play hide and seek too. Keep Honey in a sit/stay then go and hide somewhere and call out playfully “Honey, come and find me!!” and when Honey finds you, give her a small treat. It will make her run around a bit and she’ll have to use brainpower to find you :) Another trick is for you and a partner to stand on opposite ends of the house and each person call out to her in turn. She’ll run to one person, get a small treat, then run to the other. Back and forth a few times and she’ll be exhausted. Be careful with hardwood floors as it’s a bit slipper but if you’ve got carpet, it’s great. Or scatter small treats around the house and get her to sniff them out; it’s very tiring and fun for them. I live in rainy Melbourne so I have hundreds of rainy day games up my sleeve!

  2. It is too hot to anything here but some heavy duty chillaxing. Have a fabulous Friday and stay cool.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. I think the trick training is definitely a fitness exercise. Mental stimulation is just as important to fitness. These are all great exercise too. And I love HRD’s idea of the hide & seek. We used to do that with Sally and she loved it, and it wore her out. Thanks for joining the Hop. Hope your videographer is finished with the extra work soon.

  4. Great ideas for indoor fun! There have been a couple of days this summer when the only exercise Finn has had is chasing the cats away from his toys! :)

  5. We are using the heatwave to just be bums and take a break. We always are out and about, so a few days of being lazy can be a good thing. Mom says walk and we barely lift our heads, no interest in going out into that natural sauna. Starting tonight it will get better, so tomorrow we will be back in our routine and we will be all ready and rested.

  6. Lots of indoor fetch in our chilly basement and indoor agility classes.

  7. We’ve been going out earlier or later and taking more shorter walks. Also been trying to find some fun evening group activites, but the constant rain has made it hard.

    Another point about tricks training and fitness is core strength…all the activities where Honey is on her hind legs contribute to core strength too

  8. We hear you Honey – It has been oh so hot in Utah. So we are trying to find fun things to beat the heat too! We can’t wait to see yourthe tricks!

  9. Oh this heat is tough on the doggies. We are trying to walk in the cool of the evening.

  10. Sorry I haven’t been by in a while, sadly we had a death in the family. I missed visiting you. This is a great post and important to be reminded to keep active for both us and our dogs even when it is so hot (we hit 100 in Albany!) We usually play with the tennis ball in the house, but Kelly prefers to sleep with her head under the bed like Honey.

  11. Like Emma, Bella looks at me like I’m growing another head when I just try to get her out to go potty right now. Third heat wave this year and it’s getting a little old.

    But we do have her agility class which is air-conditioned and, like you, we have mental training we do with her regularly to keep her on her toes.

  12. Sue @ The Golden Life says:

    Callie and Shadow prefer the coolness of the linoleum floors in the bathroom and kitchen, too. I don’t blame them! I purposely bought one of those orthopedic mats with the cooler fabric on one side and neither one of them really like it that much. Oh well, at least I can use it as a barricade in the bedroom doorway when Ducky is home from daycare!

  13. We agree that Chillaxin’ is the best option!!

  14. The headless picture of Honey reminded me of Chamois when we first got her. She thought that if her head was hidden we couldn’t find her when it was bath time. She isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but the Poodles take care of her.

  15. I can’t wait to see a video of Honey! She looks so pathetic under the couch. LOL!

    Maya & Pierson do trick training, too, although for a very short time if it is outdoors. But lately, we’ve been having a lot of fun playing in the sprinkler. :)

  16. Those all sound like great tricks. Maybe by the time your cameraman gets a break from his busy schedule, they will be perfected and you can share the finished product. ”
    Most of those DO sound like great ways to get Honey some indoor exercise, and of course, challenging the mind is often enough to keep them satisfied when physical activity is limited.

  17. Oh, I have just gotten the hankering to teach some tricks to my guys, too. What ‘s the trick for beep-beep-beep?

    • Y’know how when trucks back up, they make a beep sound? Well, I want Honey to walk backwards when I beep. Cute, huh?

  18. Sounds like you and Honey have a lot of fun work ahead of you! I like to play the Hot and Cold Treasure Hunt game where the Mom Person hides my toy and I have to find it.

  19. Honey doesn’t look to excited for tricks :) I always think that I should teach Chester and Gretel more tricks. Maybe that will be a goal during our rainy winter.

  20. I do tricks and play games indoors in between naps as well. It’s a good way of breaking the day up when it’s too hot to play outside.
    I see that you’re teaching Honey to walk backwards on command. We have found that useful on a couple of occasions when I’ve got myself into a spot where I couldn’t turn round.

  21. I like bloggers who aren’t afraid to show us a little dust. Dog knows Jen has taken LOTS of pictures of the stuff! woo woo!

  22. looking forward to seeing the results of your training sessions:-)

  23. We go regardless. We might shorten the walk, but we still go. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

    You had me chuckling on this one Pamela.


  1. […] While Honey at Something Wagging is wilting in the heat, Pamela is finding creative ways to stay fit with Fido indoors. […]