5 top tips for exercising your dog.
In today’s face-paced world you probably have many demands on your time. If you’re a dog owner, one of the things most likely to suffer is the amount of time you spend with your dog.
Now, while it may be easy to assign exercising your dog to the “optional” list – after all, the dog’s not going to file a complaint – I would strongly urge you not to do this.
Regardless of age, breed, size or level of fitness, all dogs need their exercise. It is your responsibility as a dog owner to provide it.
Here are 5 tips to help you with the “what”, “where” and “how much”, of exercising your dog:
1. How Much Exercise?
How much exercise you give your dog depends on a number of factors. As a rule of thumb, working and herding breeds require the most exercise, toy breeds the least.
Larger breeds often need more exercise than smaller, although this is a generalization. Terriers for example need more exercise than large “guarding” breeds. Puppies and older dogs don’t need as much exercise as healthy, adult dogs.
Of course, there are exceptions to these guidelines. You’ll need to do a bit of research on exercising your dog, depending on the needs of your particular breed.
2. Introduce Strenuous Exercise Slowly
If you’ve just started exercising your dog, don’t over do it. Start with a shorter walk and scale up, increasing by about 10 minutes a day. Dogs suffer exertion related injuries just as easily as humans.
3. Choose the Right Exercise
Not all breeds are created equal. While a Malamute or Dalmatian may run all day, a walk around the block may be enough for a Bulldog.
Don’t over-exert your dog. Find out about your breed and adjust your exercise routine accordingly.
4. Games With Your Dog
Games should definitely be part of your exercise routine. But, in addition to walking, not instead of it. Dogs love to play, as it challenges them mentally as well as physically.
Choose a game that taps into your dog’s natural instincts. For example, retrievers will chase and retrieve a ball all day long, while hounds love the challenge of finding hidden objects, and sled dogs enjoy pulling.
Other popular games include tag, hide-and-seek, and tug-a-war.
5. The Great Outdoors
If you’re a jogger or an outdoor person, why not involve your dog in these activities. They are a great way to stengthen your bond with your dog.
Be aware though that this is not suitable for all dogs. Hunting, tracking and herding breeds will love it, while for companion breeds its just all too much effort.
You should also be aware that over-strenuous exercise can actually be dangerous to dogs that suffer from breathing problems, like Pugs and Bulldogs.
I hope that these 5 tips will encourage you to give your dog the exercise he needs. The pay-off of a calm, balanced, and happy companion makes exercising your dog worthwhile.