Canine Exercise – Fun Ways To Exercise

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Exercising a dog should be something that you do together.  Opening up the back door and letting him out into your fenced backyard isn’t really the type of exercise that engages mind and body and often isn’t exercise at all.  Certainly, dogs who live with other canine companions may take the opportunity to run and wrestle and play in the yard, but oftentimes they just sniff around, eliminate and want back into the house.  Or perhaps snooze under a shady tree.  Exercising your dog should be an actual activity that your dog partakes in – whether with other dogs or with you.

There are many activities that will give your dog a work out.  Perhaps the easiest of these is a nice long walk.  This doesn’t mean a quickie to the end of the block – but rather a walk of decent length, depending upon the age and size of your dog.  A normal averaged sized middle aged dog would do well with an hour long daily walk while a puppy or senior dog would, due to age, appreciate shorter distances for a shorter amount of time.  Make sure to take your individual dog into consideration when deciding.  Another activity that many dogs live for is fetch.  Have  a dog who loves to retrieve?  Go outside with your dog and throw the ball, frisbee – whatever!  The interaction you have with your dog will be priceless!  Swimming is yet another great workout for dogs.  The resistance of the water helps work various muscle groups but its low impact nature makes it okay for dogs dealing with joint issues or in rehab after suffering injury.

Training classes are a great way to get your dog up and moving both physically and mentally.  It is yet another way that you can interact with and build a lifelong bond with your dog.  Obedience gets them moving around and mentally stimulated.  In addition to basic obedience classes, doggy sports, such as agility, flyball, tracking, lure coursing and herding, to name a few, give your dog a constructive job to do and high energy games to play.  If you are planning on doing any dog sports with your dog it is imperative to have a great exercise regime so that they can compete and practice safely – an out of shape dog is likely to hurt himself so it is a huge benefit to have a dog in top condition from regular exercise.

Inclement weather?  No problem.  Indoor games are a great way to keep your dog sharp.  Interactive games involve training and reward – a favorite of any dog!  Hide and seek, indoor retrieves with soft toys and working on basic obedience commands, are all activities that you can practice when its too nasty to venture outside.  Treadmills are another exercise tool that is gaining popularity.  Be sure to teach your dog how to properly walk on the machine first and foremost.  While its not a replacement for a good long walk with all the sights and smells that it affords, a treadmill can be a great way to get the kinks out when a walk isn’t possible.

Doggy day care is a great way to entertain your dog when you have to be at work all day.  8 plus hours of running and playing with other canine companions can be heaven to most dogs.  If there are no day cares in your area, find suitable doggy companions for your pooch and set up play dates.  Your dog is a social creature and if dog friendly, will thrill in having the chance to talk dog with some other canines.

Exercise can come in many forms and each can be tailored to be appropriate for most any dog regardless of age, size or activity level.  Keep ’em healthy and occupied!