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Why is regular exercise important for your dog?

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Every dog needs exercise, the breed, and the dog size doesn’t matter. As humans dogs too have a daily schedule and need to be active. Exercising with your dog can contribute his/her healthy life and yours’ too. Another thing that exercising contributes to dogs is fixing behavior issues.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Most of the time you as an owner give your dog food the second he/she wakes up. But, that is not a very good thing to do. If you take a look at the wolves in nature the minute they wake up they walk. Walking is a form of exercise and bonding, creating a special kind of relationship, respect, and trust. So, before you go to work or doing errands, make sure you take your dog out and tire him/her. The perfect time frame is 35-45 minutes. After walking (and while you walk) make sure you give them enough of water. When you get home give them food, they probably won’t take it right away because they are tired, but still you can leave it there. Exercising such as walking, running/jogging can help your dog with anxiety, so you won’t find a chewed up couch or chair when you get back home.

Dogs that have shorter muzzles (bulldogs, etc.) should do exercises with with their nose. You can hide food or their favorite toy and train them to find it. If they can’t find it lead the way and make sure they follow you. When they find it make sure to reward them by saying Good boy/girl or give them a treat.

Hearding is very popular these days. You can take your dog whether it’s a sheepdog or any other breed to the local farm and see if they will let your dog herd the sheep. This is a very important mental and physical stimulation for dog. Before you let your dog run after sheep, make sure that he/she is not aggressive towards them or that they don’t activate prey drive in your dog.

Every dog is capable of work. You can buy a backpack made for dogs (you can find it online) that you can put on their back and take them for a walk. Dogs have a purpose and they will gladly do anything to fulfill it. This can be also used for dogs that are overweight.

Swimming is a very important exercise too, even though your doggy doesn’t like it. This type of exercise can help your dog with hip movements and joint movements. Often times vets prescribe swimming as a way of recovery from many physical injuries that occur during dogs’ lifetime. If your dog doesn’t like water, put a leash on him/her and slowly take him/her in the water/pool, very calmly and assertively. The dog will try to get away but don’t move and don’t let the dog go away. Wait for the dog to relax and then make the next step. When the dog gets in the water make sure you put the dog in front of you and take him/her slowly around the pool.

Exercising can help your dog with destructive behavior, such as chewing on furniture, running around the house, constantly barking, destroying your clothes, digging in your yard, going through garbage, whining, and aggressive behavior.

So how much exercise does your dog need?

If we are talking about puppies, make sure you have shorter time-framed-training 3-4 times a day. Puppy is just like a baby and will participate as much as he/she wants, and since they are very young they will get tired easily. So, do 3-4 sessions of 15 minutes of the day (including walking, training: sit, lay down, give me a paw, etc.). Make sure not to do it outside if it’s too hot!

If we are talking about grown-up dogs make sure you go for a walk or jog in the morning while it’s still not too hot, before you give them food. And take them out once more in the evening, it’s very good to be active before they go to sleep. They will feel much better and so will you!

Elder dogs take a bit longer time to do some of these exercises so please be careful how much you pressure them into it. Walking for some elder dogs can be very stressful and painful, so maybe you can find another exercise, such as swimming. If your dog doesn’t feel like doing anything at the moment, that is fine too. It’s totally normal that elder dogs want to rest and spend more time with you than running around and playing. After all, it’s about spending time with your best friend for as long as you can do it.

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