Dogs were breed to work and they have been doing this successfully for thousands of years. Even wild dogs work for a living, such as scavenging for food. Dogs like to be busy, interact socially and solve problems. Today, most dogs are kept as our companions, are sometimes left alone for long hours, eat food from a bowl and often lack purpose. A lot of dogs don’t even go outside their own yards for exercise.
Problems can arise from lack of exercise and stimulation. Young (and some time even older) dogs will get into mischief if bored! This can include chewing, digging, hyper excitability, barking, whining, unruliness, etc. Lack of exercise can lead to numerous health issues.
Daily exercise provides many benefits, as well as keeping dogs fit, it reduces digestive problems (but be careful not to feed close to exercise periods), it can also help exercise the dogs mind and keep weight under control.
Structured exercise could include Frisbee, agility, dock jumping, swimming, running, or hiking with your dog. You can also join a canine fitness class, which will use balance balls, wobble boards and cavetti’s, etc to strengthen the dog’s muscles and core.
Play is also important for your dog- daily games of fetch, Frisbee, flirt polls will enrich your dog’s life as well as make them more pleasurable to live with. If your dog is dog/dog friendly you can take them to a dog park or dog beach for play and social interaction.
Get out and have fun with your dog, but remember, if you have a dog that has not had regular exercise for sometime you should introduce this gradually. Make sure you take plenty of water for you dog. Do not ask puppies to do repetitive jumping. Stay out of the really hot times of the day as dogs can easily get heat exhaustion or burnt pads.
And of course check with your vet before starting a structured exercise program with your dog.
Blog by Elaine, Owner of Happy Urban Dog training