What does “exercise your dog” mean?

Narrated from: Dog Training

You’ve probably read quite often how important it is to exercise your dog. A healthy dog must get sufficient exercise, or various health problems may occur. Also, quite often if you complain to the vet that your dog has behavior issues, the answer you get is: “your dog needs more exercise.”

But what is exercise for a dog? Well, don’t imagine special programs or taking the dog to the gym! Your dog’s regular routine should consist of the fun things you and your dog do together!

The trick is to do those things on a regular schedule – you should not neglect your dog! Basically, excessive energy will build up if you don’t have sufficient time for your buddy – and that is when the dog would seriously threaten your relationship by digging in the yard, making a mess in the house, biting people and so on.

Well, common advice is to tire out a dog three times a week. It is easy to know when a dog has worked out hard enough – the dog will pant. If the panting is too heavy, you will hear an unpleasant, wheezing sound. Be sure to give the dog time to rest, along with some water.

So, what is dog exercise?
The basic form is the walk. You need to take walks with your dog on a regular schedule. For some dog breeds that would be a sufficient amount of exercise. It would also be a good idea to find a field where you could let the dog run without a leash. A wide backyard with a secure fence, or a park where dogs are allowed off-leash would do nicely!

Other simple forms of exercise are fetching, jumping and Frisbee. Dogs usually learn to jump quite easily – you just have to hold a delicious treat or a favorite toy outside the dog’s reach! It is best to keep the jumps to the level of the dog’s elbows. And don’t force the dog – some dogs have physical problems and don’t like to jump. Fetching and Frisbee are also quite simple games that would allow the dog to run around and tire itself. They do require some basic training of course.

Basic obedience training would allow you to teach your dog to follow commands – and that is a great way of exercising as well! Other than “Fetch!” there would be “roll over”, “sit”, “stand”, and so on.

Many people greatly enjoy mutual exercises with their dogs. The main forms are hiking, jogging and biking. Those forms of exercise are heavier for a dog, especially if the human in the team is in good shape. Also, such exercise is not appropriate for all breeds – it wouldn’t be a good idea to tie a Chihuahua to your bicycle! If you want to cycle with the dog, you would need a special device called a “Springer”.

Swimming is often recommended for dogs; however, the problem here is finding a safe place where your dog could swim!

Dog exercise balls are another good product on the market. Many breeds love them and you could actually play soccer with the dog!

Last, but not least, you could try dog sports. There are various sports designed specifically for our canine companions – hunting, agility, flyball, disc dog, pulling and so on. Those sports require more complicated forms of training, but if you have the necessary time and will, your dog could actually excel and make it to a world championship!

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