Exercise is a key element in a dogs overall health and well being.
Depending on your dogs breed, temperament and energy level he may need no
more than a twenty minute trot around the block or as much as a three hour
Regardless, exercise provides a dog with an outlet for stress and
anxiety that no other activity fulfills. There are as many ways to
exercise a dog as there are dogs, find one to fit your lifestyle and do it
often. A dog that doesn't get enough exercise builds up frustration and
anxiety that needs to be released in some way. Usually this release
manifests itself in inappropriate behavior like excessive barking, digging,
destructive chewing, housebreaking problems, dog fighting, etc. That's not
to say that exercise alone will fix what ails ya' but it does take the edge
off and is crucial to any treatment program.
Most dogs do not get the exercise they need to be good household
companions. This is mainly because most dog owners don't realize that a
walk on a leash isn't enough exercise for most dogs. Even if you walk for
an hour, your dog is restrained on a leash and isn't really letting off
steam. That's not to say you should walk him off-leash on the street, but
finding a safe place to let him run offleash is a must. A fenced yard,
park or even a tennis court can give your pooch a good workout.
Playtime with another dog is an excellent way to release energy.
Invite a neighbor's dog over and let them play for an hour several days a
week. No neighbor dogs ? How about enrolling your dog in a quality dog
daycare program ( we run ours Tuesday thru Thursday from 7:15am -
6:00pm...all the dogs go home dog tired !) Fetch is an awesome way to
exercise an energetic dog, use a frisbee, a ball, a kong or a stick and
throw it until he drops. For really fast energetic dogs who need lots of
flat out running, you can use a tennis racquet to send the ball further
than you can throw. The whole family can participate in calling the dog
back and forth in the yard, at the beach or even the length of a field.
Swimming is another excellent way to totally tire out a real go getter.
You can play fetch in the water too for double the fun. Biking, jogging,
or roller blading are a high energy dog's dream, just start off slow at
first and build up to your full distance. Dogs under a year probably
shouldn't participate in this type of exercise until they fully mature, it
can cause too much stress on their joint and growing bones. Check with
your breeder and veterinarian to see if these are appropriate activities
for your dog's breed, size and age.
Regardless of how you exercise your dog remember that starting off
slowly and gradually increasing the time is the key to preventing injury.
Find an activity you can enjoy together and practice it often. The
benefits to your dogs overall health are more beneficial than any special
food or supplement you can give. Get out there and enjoy life with your
dog....you'll both enjoy the many benefits of fresh air and fun !