By Gary Walker
The modern lifestyle places plenty of demands on your time. If you’re a dog owner, one of the things most likely to suffer is the amount of time you spend with your dog.
Now, while it may be easy to assign exercising your dog to the “optional” list – after all, the dog’s not going to file a complaint – I would strongly urge you not to do this.
Regardless of age, breed, size and level of fitness, all dogs need their exercise. It is your duty as a dog owner to ensure that this exercise is provided.
Here are 5 tips to help you with the “what”, “where” and “how much”, of exercising your dog:
1. How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?
The amount of exercise your dog needs is dependant on a number of things. Generally, dogs from the working and herding groups need to most exercise, while companion, or toy, dogs need the least.
Larger breeds often need more exercise than smaller, although this is a generalization. Terriers, for example, need more exercise than large guarding breeds. Puppies and older dogs don’t need as much exercise as healthy, adult dogs.
Of course there are exceptions to these guidelines. You’ll need to do a bit of research on your particular breed for more specific advice.
2. Introduce Strenuous Exercise Slowly
If you resolve to start exercising your dog, don’t start with a 10 mile hike the first day. Start with a shorter walk and scale up, increasing by about 10 minutes a day. Dogs suffer exertion related injuries just as easily as humans.
3. The Best Exercise for Your Dog
Not all breeds are created equal. A Husky or Border Collie will run all day, while a short walk will be sufficient for a Bulldog or Pekingese.
Don’t over-exert your dog. Find out about your breed and adjust your exercise routine accordingly.
4. Play Games
So far we’ve spoken mainly about walking, but you should also make games part of your routine. The great thing about games is that they challenge the dog physically, as well as mentally.
Find a game your dog loves. For example, retrievers will chase and retrieve a ball all day long, while hounds love the challenge of finding hidden objects.
Other popular games include tag, hide-and-seek, and tug-a-war.
5. Running and Hiking
If you’re a jogger, or an outdoor person, why not involve your dog in these activities. They are a great way to stengthen your bond with your dog.
Be aware though that these activities are not suitable for all dogs. In particular, you should avoid over-strenuous exercise with dogs that suffer from breathing problems, like Pugs and Bulldogs.
Hopefully, these five tips will help you to enjoy the time you spend exercising your dog. The pay-off is a calm, balanced dog, and a deep bond between dog and owner.