Tag: Dogs exercise

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Really Need?

Dogs, like people, need exercise. They crave movement. They need to get out of the house and explore the world.

Unfortunately, most dogs are under-exercised, and are suffering mentally and physically for it.

Lack Of Exercise Leads To Mental Strain

The old school of thinking believed that dogs were playful as puppies, then around a year old, they got lazy and boring. This lead to a lot of unhappy, destructive dogs. And, more sadly, it has led to many adult dogs being dumped in kill-shelters because they weren’t playing like a puppy anymore.

The truth is that dogs are pretty active at all ages. If they’re not sick or injured, a dog wants to move. Sitting in the house every day leads to boredom. Bored dogs become destructive. Or, depressed. They become lethargic.

Again, old school thinking about dogs led to the belief that they’re nothing more than dumb animals. But, the truth is that dogs are intelligent, emotional beings. They need mental stimulation.

Exercise As Mental And Physical Stimulation

Even seen a high energy breed like a German Shepard or a Husky destroy a house or yard? They’re under stimulated. These dogs are working breeds.

Keep a hound from exploring with its nose and you’ll have a sad, destructive dog.

Every breed, even mixed breeds, have things they crave. Exercise helps them satisfy this need.

Movement helps them physically, just as it does for humans. It controls weight, helps with metabolic rate, keeps disease at bay.

Walking Is Key

Waling is the best exercise for most dogs.

Daily walks of 20-minutes is minimal.

Two walks are better.

Know your dog – if you have a high energy dog, you’ll need to either walk more or run with them to use up their considerable energy.

What about dog parks and the back yard?

There are many experts that believe that running around a dog park or your yard is good for exercise but doesn’t provide the same primal mental stimulation that a long walk does. While this is debatable, the best option is to always include a walk whenever possible.

There seems to be something about moving forward, walking, that stimulates your dog’s brain, and helps them release a lot of mental stress. Walking could be tied into the act of searching for food and shelter that is embedded in your pup’s genetic coding.

If you can walk with them, and give them access to a yard or dog park, they’ll get the best of both worlds.

Bad Weather and Older Dogs

What if your dog is older and can’t handle long walks?

What About When It Snows Or Rains?

Do your best to get your dog out walking, even if it is for several short (as little as 5-minute) walks. Finding ways for them to exercise their minds with toys, bones, chew toys is important in these cases as well. If they’re up for it, play games with them. This will get them moving and thinking.

In bad weather, short walks can help. Some experts contend that a walk to the mailbox can help relieve mental stress and boredom. A short ride in the car can help. If you are confined to the house, turn to games using toys, treats, and simply being playful with your puppy can help them burn off mental and physical energy.

A Special Note For Puppies

In general, puppies are like toddlers – they have a seemingly inexhaustible energy supply.

Walking them multiple times per day, letting them run, and playing games with them are all necessary. If that energy is not put to positive use, it will turn negative. If you’d like to keep your couch, curtains, carpet, and shoes intact, get your new baby exercised.

The old adage that “a tired puppy is a good puppy,” holds true.

Curing Behaviour Problems In High Energy Dogs

Dog behavior expert Caesar Milan is fond of saying “Every dog needs a job.” Many disagree with Cesar’s methods, but it’s tough to argue with this philosophy.

The reality is, your dog was bred to perform a task. Even mixed breeds have the need to “work.” Many undesirable behaviours: digging, howling, excessive barking, etc. can be attributed to your dog’s need to do its job going unfulfilled.

Your Beagle howls when it spots a rabbit because it has a hard-wired. They need to alert the pack, and the hunter, that it’s found game.

Your Australian Shepard nips at the kids feet when they run because it has a need to herd.

Your small, mixed breed dog suffers from explosive barking fits every time someone walks by your home. This is because it’s job is to alert you that there is a threat approaching.

Exercise Helps Control Dog Behaviour

If you’re losing your mind with your dog’s behavior issues, first know that they are all fixable.

The good news is that walking your dogs will solve a lot of issues. All dogs, regardless of breed, have a need to walk. This is their need for moving forward in search of food and shelter. When you deny a dog this simple task, it can cause a buildup of mental and physical energy and this leads to destructive behaviors.

Two, finding breed-specific tasks is a great way for your dog to realize it’s need to work.

If you have a mixed breed, finding out things she likes to do will not be hard.

Start with Basic Behavior Training

What kind of dog do you have?

Not surprisingly, Labs will enjoy retrieving a ball, stick, or Frisbee and bringing it back to you. You don’t need to duck hunt because your dog is hyperactive. But, finding a way for them to replicate soft-mouth carrying an object to you is an excellent way for them to feel fulfilled mentally and physically.

Playing scent-related hide-and-seek games can be a great way for nose-dominate dogs like hounds (and all dogs, really) to perform work tasks. Hide an object they’re familiar with in your home or yard. Walk them through the finding and retrieval process. Repeat and reward.

No matter what breed you have, toys like Kong that allow you to hide treats or food inside of the toy, leaving your dog to use its brain to figure out the puzzle will help with their mental health and cut down on destructive behaviors.

Swimming, if your dog like water, is an excellent way for your dog to exercise mentally and physically.

Agility training is great for herding breeds, sporting breeds, and small dogs that love to run around. You don’t have to turn your yard into the World Breed Championships. Just a simple obstacle course will be like Disney for your dog.

Need To Get More Exercise? There’s A Dog For That

We Don’t Have Time To Exercise!”

We hear it all the time: “Get up and get moving,” “Just thirty minutes a day is all it takes,” and “Exercise does the body good.”

We’re constantly bombarded by the media with quotes and imagery and reasons for why we need to incorporate exercise into our daily routines. If you’re anything like us, that’s easier said than done.

What about the laundry and bills? They’re not going to handle themselves…and that book you picked up last week. It’ll never get read. You can’t forget the countless friends and family you made plans with.

We come up with countless excuses for why we “just can’t make time for exercising!” in our already busy schedules. But what if there’s a reason that’s fun, furry, and already exists?

Have A Dog? Then You’re Half Way There!

According to Medical Daily, studies show that having a dog not only increases your chances of walking daily, but also increases the likelihood that you’ll get your entire daily amount of recommended exercise.

“We Love Fetch, But What’s The Catch?”

Okay, okay…so owning a dog isn’t exactly the solution. (We only said you’re half way there!) There are all kinds of factors that play into the “reasons to exercise with my dog” equation.

Another study done this year revealed two crucial parts to this equation.

First, dog owners are more likely to walk their dog if the dog himself is enthusiastic about the activity. Translation: Fido’s favorite activities include napping, eating, and more napping? It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that you won’t be reeling to get out for his daily walk.

Second, our beliefs about dogs, along with their genetic makeup, drastically affects the probability of dog-walking. If you don’t feel attached to your pup, or he isn’t known for being an active breed, you’re going to be much less likely to take him out for a stroll. Alternatively, if you feel that he calms down from exercise, or he’s an active and energetic breed, you’ll be much more likely to take him out.

What Are The Take-Aways?

If you already are active with your dog, that’s fantastic! If you’re both more inclined to be couch potatoes, that’s okay too.

Make time to exercise yourself, and your dog. It is extremely important for his health, as well as your own. The way we see it, it’s a win-win.

(Not to mention that’s added bonding time you get to spend with your four-legged friend)

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