How to Keep Your Dog Healthy with Physical Activity
People have been drawn to dogs far back into ancient prehistory. They have become our companions in many ways and have been integrated into our society. This alone should show the importance of canines to humans. So why is it that so many of us struggle to get the right exercise for our pets? For their health, most dogs need activity every day. There are recorded benefits to exercise in humans, so we should also see the importance of exercise for our dog companions. Less active dogs can develop serious medical problems later in life, just like we do. Some of us may have difficulty helping our dogs exercise because we don’t know where to start. Continue reading to learn different healthy exercises for dogs of all types.
Types of Exercise For Dogs
Walking your Dog
Some dogs were born and bred to be retrievers and investigators. Games of fetch in open places will give them the satisfaction they hunt for. Other dogs love to socialize, some with people, others with other dogs. Dogs have powerful instincts to form packs and some of them like to satisfy that drive with trips to dog parks where they can make friends. In general, some of the easiest and most fun exercises are simply walking. Walks help socialize younger dogs and keep blood flowing well. Walks also help people stay active. It’s easy to establish walks as a daily routine, not only to help your buddy get rid of his doggy cabin fever but also to get you out and moving once again.
Hiking With Your Dog
There are plenty of other more intensive exercises for the more adventurous of dog parents. Getting your pup on the trail can really help keep them in top shape. Moving over the rough terrain forces the body to make different movements than it would over flat ground, strengthening ligaments and muscle tissue in new ways. Having a hiking dog is not only incredibly healthy for both of you, but you may also find your social standing a bit higher! There’s nothing better in the woods than a happy dog to pet.
Playing With Your Dog
Toys like frisbees, footballs, and tug-of-war toys can be great as well. Throwing frisbees and balls can really get your dog moving. Many times, younger pups have a lot of energy, and you may find these to be great tools to eventually get your little pup into a sleeping mood for the evening! An exercised puppy is a healthy puppy. Sometimes tug-of-war toys can get a bad reputation for inciting aggression, but they can have many good uses as well. According to Dr. Jason Nicholas, tug-of-war does not instill aggression in dogs, but it can exacerbate aggressive tendencies in already aggressive dogs (Nicholas, 2017). Training a dog in the proper ways to play and discouraging bad behavior is necessary for a good social structure. Pups without good social structures can find themselves acting out and even injuring other dogs, often by accident.
Accidents happen, but many are preventable. Dogs are domesticated animals who are well-attuned to human emotion. Healthy relationships with your dog will be the first barrier to accidents. The second barrier comes with proper training. Canine instincts are incredibly strong, but they require tempering to live easily in human society. Certain breeds are more focused in this regard than others, but every breed of dog needs a helping hand from us to prevent misbehavior.
Along with normal dog training, you may want to consider enrolling in obedience schools. These schools are meant to give you and your pup the proper tools to function completely and with boundaries appropriate for the public. These schools tend to turn out pups who are ready for healthy dog exercises in any setting, often even under duress.
Getting out to bark parks is another great way to get your dog accustomed to how other dogs behave. Often, dogs can teach each other healthy exercises merely by commingling and communicating. Dogs learn from each other and healthy dogs teach healthy habits and playstyles. Some dogs have a rough start. Along with proper training with regard to their sensitivities, socialization can help troubled dogs find their way. Seeing other happy, healthy dogs usually kicks in their drive to be part of the pack. It may take some time and patience from other dog parents, but with enough socialization and correction, dogs with social issues can find some healthier ways to play and communicate.
Safety Tips For Dogs
It cannot be overstated that safety should always be deployed before any new exercise routine is begun. Check with your vet to see what is right for your pup before hitting the trail or enrolling in endurance courses. An 8-year-old golden retriever may find more satisfaction with short walks and sun-bathing than fetch. Healthy dog exercises will always depend on the dog in question. Let your dog set the pace. Always be aware of your surroundings and the path you take. Watch for other dogs and give them space in your path to pass. Watch for glass or other dangers in your path that may hurt your pup. Be aware of injury, illness, and if there is ever any doubt, never hesitate to take your friend back home to safety. Bring water and a few snacks with you just in case. Always consider the effect you and your dog have on the environment around you and make sure your furry friend’s presence won’t cause them any stress.
Whatever goal you desire for you or your dog, always use common sense and be aware of your dog in decision making. Get your vet involved and establish open communication and frequent check-ups. Your dog will return the investment into their health with a happy, long life.