Ways to Keep your Dog Active
For years, I’ve been wondering how to make sure my dog gets enough exercise. Working a nine to five job, I realized that my dog just sits around most of the day waiting for me to come home. That kind of inactivity can lead to obesity and a myriad of canine health problems.
I eventually decided to do some research, but that proved more than a little frustrating. There’s information on the Internet, but it’s scattered around all over the place.
To make things simpler for other pet owners, I decided to combine all the great ideas floating around on pet exercise into one comprehensive article. If this doesn’t tell you how to make sure your dog gets enough exercise, then nothing will.
The Golden Rule
No matter what breed of dog you own, they should get at least fifteen to thirty minutes of exercise each day. This amount doesn’t have to be all at once, and it’s perfectly acceptable to break it down into five or ten minute increments.
Some breeds of dog may need a great deal more exercise. For example, herding breed dogs or border collies should get around two hours per day. Dogs which have been spayed or neutered also need a bit more exercise than the average dog.
Keep this in mind before buying your dog. If you can’t give your dog the exercise he needs, you might be better off going with another breed.
Swimming As Dog Exercise
If you have a pool in your backyard, swimming can be an excellent form of dog exercise. Keep in mind, however, that some dogs take to swimming better than others (most retrievers are naturally good swimmers). If your dog seems to have trouble at first or acts nervous, get in the pool and help them learn.
As a general rule of thumb, you should always monitor your dog when they’re swimming. Also, make sure they don’t swim into the deep end unattended.
If you live in a rural setting, be careful about letting your dog swim in natural pools. These can often be littered with dead trees and various kinds of snakes. If you can’t be in the water with your dog, you might want to skip swimming as a form of doggie exercise.
Fetch And Catch
Many dogs love to play catch with Frisbees and fetch items. Playing fetch doesn’t require a lot of space, and all you really need is a ball. This can even be done inside your home, especially a larger area which is free of furniture and slick floors.
If you decide to take your dog to the park or backyard and play Frisbee, make sure that you keep your throws low. In some cases, a dog jumping too high into the air can suffer neck or back injuries when he or she lands.
If you want to make sure that your dog gets enough exercise, cycling provides an excellent opportunity. This works especially well for more athletic dogs who need to burn off a lot of excess energy. Rural areas are especially suited for this, as your dog will have plenty of room to run free without risk of being hit by a car.
If you’re cycling in an urban setting, you need to be very careful. Only cycle early in the morning when traffic is light, and make sure your dog can respond to simple commands such as “left” and “right.”
Walking And Jogging
Another excellent form of dog exercise, walking or jogging also helps the pet owner to burn off calories. If you’re walking or jogging in the countryside, then feel free to let your dog roam free and enjoy himself.
If, however, you are anywhere near a street, road or highway, you should always keep your dog on a leash. Dogs like to chase things, and a passing pedestrian could quickly become a target for your pet. Your dog might also dart into traffic and get struck by a car. Don’t take any chances.
In addition to getting physical exercise, it can also benefit your dog to work his mental faculties. This can not only make him smarter and more alert, but it can help minimize behavioral problems.
A number of toys are available to help with mental exercise for dogs. Often, these have a treat inside, and the dog must figure out how to get to it. When he does, he gets a tasty reward.