Tips for Keeping Your Canine in Great Shape

Dogs are a lot like people. They need love, companionship… and exercise. And just like people, some dogs love to run, others not so much. Thankfully there are many different ways to exercise your pet, so all you have to do is find the right balance for your fido.

Dogs need to be active and get plenty of physical activity. Burning off excess energy, stopping damaging behaviors, staving off boredom and promoting healthy hormones are all advantages of regular pet exercise. There are almost as many canine workouts as there are human ones, with both indoor and outdoor workouts you can use several times a week. As a bonus, exercising with your dog will give you a little workout and increase your bond. Here are some ways you can exercise your dog.

Running

Some dogs just love to run. If you want to try running with your dog, put her on a leash and start at a pace that easy for her to match. Most dogs can handle a 15 minute run at a moderate pace with no problem, so start with 15 to 20 minutes. Of course if you have an older dog or one with health problems, check with your vet before you start any serious activity.

When the weather is bad or you can’t get outside, you can run around the house or up and down the stairs. Dogs love playing chase, but much like cats, they don’t necessarily need to chase a human or animal. A good old laser pointer may do the trick. Drag the laser around the floor and ceiling and watch your dog have a good time tracking it.

Frisbees, Balls and Sticks

Some dogs love chasing something down and bringing it back. Take your dog to a park or to the yard and let the dog chase down tennis balls and bring it back. Some dogs really love to bring you a stick, so get a nice long one and let your dog hunt it down. For some dogs who love to jump, a frisbee will be just what the athletic trainer ordered.

Exercise keeps your dog happy and healthy.
Exercise keeps your dog happy and healthy.

Obstacle Courses

If you and your dog are up for a challenge, then set up a home obstacle course. Grab some hula hoops and some boxes and let them jump and navigate the obstacles. You can find plenty of great ideas for a home obstacle course by looking online. Not every dog needs to enter a competition, but if you have a dog who has the aptitude, why not? It’s also a great way to work on discipline and develop an even closer relationship with your dog.

Walking

Every dog loves a good long walk. Don’t hesitate to take your dog along to some of your favorite haunts. State parks and hiking trails provide a good change of scenery for both of you. Some dogs are not built for rugged terrain, so consider whether he or she has the paws suitable for rocky paths. Go for a walk on the beach or take your dog with you to the tennis court. You’ll be surprised at how great dogs are at being “ball boys.”

Always make sure you bring portable water for both you and your pet and check the leash rules before embarking on any jaunt to public or private lands.

Swimming

Almost every dog breed loves to splash around in the water. Just be sure to watch your pet closely and don’t leave them unattended, just as you would never leave your child alone in the water. Throwing a toy in the water and letting your dog swim is great exercise and great fun. Small dogs and certain breeds might need a dog life jacket. This is especially true if you are taking your dog boating or in the ocean. Always be sure not to force your dog in the water if he just isn’t into water.

No special training or equipment is needed to get your dog moving. Exercise can improve canine hearth health, weight and digestion, among many other positives. If you make a point of getting regular exercise with your dog, your health and moods will improve right along with your dog’s.

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