Get Fido Fit
Fun Ways to Exercise Your Dog
Fish need to swim. Birds need to fly. And your dog needs to walk. For all dogs, walking is a genetic instinct- it’s in their DNA. While walking is the one exercise you must do with your dog, there are other fun ways to help physically and mentally stimulate your pup through exercise.
Taking your dog for a walk should be more than a potty break. A walk is a chance for your dog to explore, smell, see and taste the world. It’s also a chance to learn how to behave around people and other dogs. Behaviorists believe dogs taken on daily walks are less likely to be destructive, obsessive, or have separation/dominance issues. A walk helps your dog’s heart, lowers blood pressure, increases bone density
and energy, and of course, burns calories.
Believe it or not, there is also a proper way to walk your dog. Your dog should walk beside or behind you, never in front of you. Remember you’re walking it, not the other way around. This is very important because it lets your dog know who is in charge.
There’s no right or wrong amount of time to walk, but experts believe that a 20-minute walk is a good aim for most dogs.
Because it’s a low impact sport, swimming is excellent for dogs with joint issues. It builds muscle, improves endurance, and strengthens cardiovascular fitness. Not all dogs like the water, but if yours does, swimming can be an excellent exercise to add to the mix.
Frisbee is a simple and fun way to play with your dog and sneak in a workout. You can play in the backyard or if you want to add an element of competition and socialization look for a Disc Dog group in your area.
It’s the quintessential dog game and it’s a great exercise for your dog.
A wide-open space for your pup to run free and let loose lets your dog burn off all the energy he needs. It’s also a great socialization for both your dog and you. Experts suggest making sure your dog is trained in being off the leash and in control before using a dog park.
Pele the pooch! If you like soccer, get your pet in on the game. Sporting stores sell hard plastic soccer-style balls designed to be used with dogs. They come in different sizes for different breeds. You kick the ball, while your dog passes it back with its nose or paws.
Sometimes weather or lack of time makes it impossible to get outside with your dog. According to Cesar Millan, star of The Dog Whisperer, while working your dog daily is best, if you can’t get outside these are good alternatives:
- Running your dog up and downstairs
- Creating an obstacle course of everyday objects for your dog to navigate
- Hide your dog’s treats throughout the house and make him work to find it
- Indoor fetch
- Run on a treadmill (this requires acclimating your dog to the machine)