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How to Exercise Your Dog: The Benefits and Tips For Exercise

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Dogs Living In The Modern World

For centuries, dogs have aided humans in work that requires physical exercise, such as herding livestock and hunting. In fact, certain types of dogs were bred for specific purposes that allowed them to spend much of their day running, chasing and enjoying the outdoors.

However, things have changed with the largely sedentary lifestyles that we lead today. Consequently, dogs spend much of their time indoors waiting for someone to play with them or take them somewhere. It’s important that you, as a pet owner, take your dog out for regular exercise to keep a happy and healthy dog. Some pet owners mistakenly believe that letting their dog out into the backyard is sufficient. Your pet wants to be involved a sort of activity, such as playing with her. It’s up to you to take the lead and give your pet the exercise she needs.

Issues Arising From Lack of Exercise

As the pet owner, dogs rely on you to provide an outlet for their energy. Like children, if you do not provide guidance, your pets will rely on their own devices to do something. These destructive activities resulting from lack of owner guided exercise are:

  • Knocking over household objects and furniture
  • Biting and chewing things
  • Hyperactivity and excitability
  • Scratching at objects, such as the door, for attention
  • Making loud noises such as whining, barking and growling
  • Unruly and aggressive behaviour towards people and other pets

The Benefits of Dog Exercises

Providing exercise and activities for your dog enables him to lead a healthy and happy life. These activities can be fun for both you and your pet! Along with reducing the issues mentioned above, other benefits to exercise for your dog are:

  • Encouraging trust and communication between you and your pet
  • Gives your pet greater confidence
  • Makes him more relaxed and peaceful when the both of you are at home
  • Reduces digestive problems
  • Increases your dog’s agility and strength
  • Helps your pet maintain a healthy weight

Exercises For Your Dog

Before you begin exercises for your dog, or exercising with her, consider both you and your pet’s exercise levels. Your pet’s exercise levels depend on age, breed, size, traits and whether he or she is used to exercise. Daily walks are suitable for most dogs as aerobic exercise. Try mixing things up and see what suits her interests and capacities. Exercises that give your dog a mental as well as physical workout can be fun and less strenuous on you than a purely physical workout. Here are exercises that both you and your companion will enjoy.

Hide and Seek

This game encourages your pet to answer to your call and to use her senses to find you. It’s also great for pet owners that want to provide a mental exercise for their pet, but not physically training for themselves. After you have played this game in a small environment, such as your living room, try going out to a wider area such as the entire house.

  1. Begin by fetching your dog’s favourite treats or toy.
  2. Tell her to stay while you go somewhere else. For beginners, you could hide at the side of the table in the room to get your dog used to the game.
  3. Call for her to come to you and wait for her to arrive.
  4. When she finds you, celebrate by rewarding her with treats or her toy.
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Hide and seek toys also provide great mental exercise for your dog. They love playing with squirrel squeak toys on their own!

Swimming

Some breeds of dogs are more naturally acclimatized to water than others. Still, ones that are not naturally swimmers can be trained to take a swim. Keeping safe parameters and starting off easy are the keys to success when swimming with your pet. Here are some tips:
  • When your pet is still a puppy, or very young, begin introducing him to water. These early experiences will help him become used to water more easily.
  • Begin by taking him into very shallow waters, not to swim, but rather to get used to the feeling of water at his legs. Wade into the water with your dog and encourage him with praise as he takes his first steps into the water
  • Progress with baby steps. If your pet is not comfortable venturing deeper, don’t force it. You can toss a ball a few feet into the water to encourage him to venture further.
  • Always cover your swimming pool with a pool cover or keep it fenced off when it is not in use. Never leave your dog unsupervised around a pool. The swimming pool should have graded steps to allow dogs to exit the water. You should also show your pet how to enter and exit the water and practice doing it so he knows what to do.

Walking and Running With Your Dog

Walking your pet is not only good for your her, but also keeps you active. Walking is also a good form of exercise for older dogs, since other forms of exercise can be strenuous on their joints. Here’s how to walk and run safely with your dog:

    • While many humans enjoy long distance jogging, dogs are naturally more accustomed to intense bursts of speed, followed by grazing and periodic stopping, similar to a hunter. They love to investigate their surroundings and linger around certain places. For these reasons, it will take some training to get your dog used to jogging along with you. Reward her with treats for running along with you and praise her.

  • Not all dogs can run alongside you. Puppies’ bones are still developing, making it hard on them to run. Older and larger dogs will likely it find it difficult to run alongside you. It’s best to consult a veterinarian before getting your dog to run alongside. If you do run with your dog, check her paws afterward for blisters and tone down the length and intensity if so.
  • Vary up the route you walk your dog so that she can smell new things and enjoy new sights. Dogs love exploring and will be excited they are embarking on an adventure!

You can create jumping obstacles for your dog with the help of small boxes and treats for encouragement. Playing soccer by lightly passing a soccer ball to your dog is a fun way for them to play with a toy outdoors with enjoy. Whichever form of exercise you choose to do with your dog, make sure it’s safe and something you and your pet love doing.

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