The Care and Well-being of Dogs
Dogs need exercise and there are many ways to get this accomplished. I will share with you some tips on exercising your dog.
Getting your canine daily exercise will keep him fit and healthy. It also helps to build confidence, improve sleep and keep him active.
Be sure your dog is healthy enough to begin any of these exercises. Some breeds with short legs may have more difficulty with some exercises. Check with your vet first if you have any doubts or concerns. Always bring water with you for your buddy if leaving the house so your dog stays hydrated. Start having some fun!
Have Your Dog Jog Alongside of You
If you want to get out there and exercise with your dog, that would be an excellent way for both of you to share in the fun. Ride your bike and have your dog on a leash beside you. Be sure not to ride to quickly as it may be difficult for a small dog, older dog, or a dog out of shape, to keep up the pace. It’s best to start as slowly as possible and work your way faster. Determine your dog’s limit by the breed, age and size.
If you are an ardent skateboarder, this may be another way to enjoy the outdoor breeze. Have your dog jog alongside of you. Also, if you can have your dog jogging on the grass during this exercise or while you are on a bike, that would be less stress on their feet versus on the concrete. Take breaks for your dog when needed.
Walking With Your Dog Using a Backpack
If riding a bike or jogging is not your thing, good ole reliable walking will do. Walking is less stress on your dog’s feet and can still give them a nice workout. Using a backpack on your dog will help them get the exercise they need but in less time. You can take shorter walks as the weight of the backpack will burn more calories.
If you have a dog in good health, adding a water bottle to each side of the pack should be good. Be sure the weather is cool or cold. You do not want your dog walking in hot weather. Some breeds and older dogs may not need anything in the backpack as the pack itself is enough.
Throw a Ball or Frisbee
One of the easiest ways to exercise your dog is to throw a ball or Frisbee. The dog will be able to release energy and have a lot of fun as well! This exercise really helps if your dog brings the toy back. My dog would catch the Frisbee and then immediately drop it so I would be running after it instead of him! It all depends on what breed you have. Some are retrievers and some are not.
Even though my dog did not retrieve balls or Frisbees, he would dribble a large sized plastic bounce ball all over the backyard. I had never seen him play so long by himself. The dribbling lasted for at least 45 minutes. He would use his muzzle to “dribble” the ball around and would chase it from end to end. He had so much fun!
We would also play “catch” together, him on one end and myself on the other. I would throw the bounce ball to him in the air and he would “throw” it back to me with his muzzle. He enjoyed that game as well. Sometimes we would play two-square with me. Remember that game in elementary school? I bounce the ball to him and he would bounce it back to me, again with his muzzle. We would play for quite some time. He was pretty good!
How About Using a Remote Controlled Car?
Most of us have tried the stick, rope or ball, but how about a new source of entertainment? This is a great idea if your dog likes to chase things. Your dog will have a lot of fun and get plenty of exercise. It is especially helpful if the owner is elderly and has trouble with their own fitness. You can relax and work the controller at your leisure while your dog runs around. Many owners find it difficult to get their dogs to exercise, therefore this could be the trick.
My dog would get excited while I was putting the battery in the car. He would bark until I put the car down for him. Then he would bark at the car if I momentarily stopped it. He would use his muzzle to try to push it along. I would then get it going again and he would think he made it “go.” It was great to watch and he got an abundance of exercise.
This is a fun game to play with your dog inside or outside. I like to play in the house as there are more places to hide but either place you want to do this activity is fine.
This activity not only works out your dog physically but mentally as well. This will work if your dog understands what “sit” and “stay” mean. First, take your dog to a location in the house if playing indoors and have him sit. Then use the command, “stay.” Slowly walk away and repeat the “stay” command if necessary. Once you are out of sight from your dog, quickly find a spot to hide. Do not take too long as your dog will lose interest. Then, from your hiding spot, call his name or use the command “OK.” Decide which command works for you. Remain silent after that. Your dog should start looking for you.
If your dog cannot seem to find you, call his name once or twice or use the command “OK” which should get him looking again. Do not hide in a difficult spot as the activity may backfire. Let your dog find you, at least at the beginning a couple of times so he stays involved and interested. If not, he may get bored.
Once he finds you, act excited and tell your dog “good girl” or “good boy” and pet him or her. Make it almost like a celebration. The praise will go a long way and he or she will want to find you again.
This is a great bonding exercise you can do with your dog. You will both have fun.
Raining Outside? Try The Treadmill
There are always ways to get your dog moving even on a rainy day. Hide and Seek is one way. How about having your dog use the treadmill?
Get your dog familiar with the treadmill before attempting to put him on it. Let him sniff it and walk on it while it is not moving. In fact, when he gets on the motionless treadmill, give him a positive command and praise him. You want him to feel comfortable on it before he uses it.
Next, let your dog hear the treadmill going while he is not on it. Have it moving slowly as you do not want to startle him. Once he gets used to idea of it moving and the noise, turn it off.
Get him on the treadmill now using a treat. This will make it a positive experience. Once he gets on, turn on the treadmill at the slowest pace. If you want to use a leash, that would work too. However, never tie the leash to the treadmill. Make sure you are always there holding the leash. If you remove the leash, you should always be there to supervise. You can reward your dog with another treat so he knows he’s doing well.
Pick up the pace slowly as he gets used to it. Once he gets adapted, you can set it at a more challenging speed to give your dog a workout.
As you can see, there are many fun ways to exercise your dog. Use the methods which work best for you and your canine friend. Not all activities are suited for all dogs. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water for your dog during and after exercising.
Giving your four-legged friend that time to burn some energy, will make for a more balanced and happier dog. Both of you will appreciate it.
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