Friday, January 11, 2008

The importance of that nasty e-word

When I was growing up, my friend's mom would always refer to "that nasty e-word: exercise". Ah, yes, that thing that we hate doing but it's so vital for our health!!

We're not the only ones who need exercise, though - your dog needs it too. As they say, a well-exercised dog is a happy dog! Don't spend all your time on fitness equipment - make sure you head outdoors for some good old-fashioned romping. The benefits for your dog are high: he'll be healthier, he'll maintain good weight, he'll develop muscle, he'll learn manners (provided you are teaching him!), and it will increase the bond and communication between the two of you.

One great way to exercise your dog is an off-leash dog park. This doesn't have as much fitness benefit for you, but it can be a great social outlet for your dog! Just be careful to watch your dog and make sure he isn't the cause of any aggressive behavior.

Regular walks and runs are essential for raising a happy, healthy dog. Start off slow if your dog isn't used to it. Make sure to keep him on soft surfaces until his pads have a chance to toughen. Avoid extreme temperatures - dogs can suffer from frostbite and heat stroke just like humans! Take the opportunity to teach him leash manners. Use this time to learn more about him, what makes his tail wag and what scares him. Just getting out of the house will be good for both of you!

If your dog needs something more, try playing with a ball or tossing a Frisbee. You can always try to hook up with some kids who also need to expend some energy. :-) Each breed is different as far as how much exercise they need, and it changes with their age too. We found that our dogs seemed happiest when we spent an hour at the dog park at least 4 times a week (we didn't have a fenced in yard, so that was their only chance to run). I also tried to take them on daily 15-minute walks during my lunch break.

The point, though, is to get both you and your dog outdoors and moving! You both will reap the benefits.

For further information:
Exercising With Your Dog |
Dog Play: Great Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Dog

No comments: