Exercise for dogs is extremely important. Dogs have been our four-legged companions for thousands of years. They were bred to work along side of us and perform jobs. That need for work must be fulfilled or else they may develop behavioral issues.
Some breeds were designed for particular tasks. For example, hunting, pulling, herding, and protection.
Today we typically don’t expect our dogs to perform these roles they were once intended for. Now most people simply want a great companion that fits their lifestyle. Since our dogs are no longer working it is crucial that we provide an outlet for their energy and exercise them often!
If you are seeing behavior problems in your dog exercise will help in most cases. The best thing you can do for your dog is to provide both physical and mental stimuli.
Here are some ways to physically exercise your dog:
This may seem like a no-brainer, but providing your dog with a structured walk on a daily basis is very important. A good walk builds your relationship, especially if you work with your dog on paying attention to you as the handler. A walk like this is even more important than a trip to the dog park because it provides structure for your dog.
A lot of people I encounter who run do not take their dogs with them because of one of these minor behavior issues: the dog pulls, it stops too often, or it’s focused on something else. This is a sad scenario because your dog would greatly benefit from a run with you. If you are experiencing similar problems, you can work with your pup to condition it to follow your lead on a run instead of doing it’s own thing.
This is a great way to burn your dogs energy without burning yourself out. It is also not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, I manage to take both of my dogs with me on a bike ride without issue. The fast paced nature of a bike ride limits your dogs ability to get distracted and helps facilitate their focus on the exercise. Introduce your dog to the bike slowly, perhaps by walking your dog with your bike a few times before riding.
For more tips on how to ride a bike with your dog, this article from the dog outdoors is helpful,http://www.thedogoutdoors.com/
If you want to burn even more energy on a walk and give your dog a job, a backpack is a great option. Your dog will be working harder and you are providing a role for it, which is to carry the backpack.
If you purchase a backpack for your dog let your dog get used to wearing it empty, then gradually add weight.
Mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation for your dog. Spending time each day working on obedience, games or new tricks is a great way to let your dog use it’s mind in constructive ways. A bored dog can become destructive. So find new ways to challenge your dogs mind. One tip is to take routine activities, like feeding, and turn them into a game. Hide your dogs food and allow them to use their nose to find it. Challenge your dog to sit and stay before getting their desired treats. There are endless ways to challenge your dog throughout the day and keep them mentally fit.