Why do Dogs need to Exercise?
Exercise is important to animals as well as people.
When animals do not get enough exercise, they
can become obese, develop heart problems, and
experience physical pain and even emotional problems.
Frequent exercise promotes self confidence, bone
density, joint health, a strong heart, and healthy
bones. When people decide to bring an animal,
like a Golden Retriever, into their home, they
need to be consistent regarding feeding, training,
and exercise. A daily routine must be established,
and the routine needs to be completed each day,
Many dog owners are under the mistaken assumption
that spending time with their dogs on the weekend
makes up for time missed during the week. This
is wrong. Playing and exercise need to be maintained
throughout each week and also maintained at a
consistent level. Each exercise session should
begin with a fifteen-minute ‘warm up’
and end with a ‘cool down’ session.
This approach to exercise will prevent muscle
strain and joint injury.
How long should a dog exercise?
Similar to exercise for humans, animal exercise
is best when it benefits mind and body. A popular
misconception regarding animal exercise is that
animals exercise whenever they are outside. In
fact, animals spend little time exercising unless
they have human companionship. Dog owners are
well advised to establish a regularly scheduled
time for exercise with their dogs. In addition
to the health benefits, frequent exercise will
prevent the dog from behaving in a destructive
manner out of boredom. If left alone for extended
periods of time, the dog might dig large holes
in the yard or chew on fencing or lawn furniture.
From what age can dogs be taken for walks?
Most dogs can be taken for brief walks at the
age of three or four months. A dog should be kept
on a leash and walked in an area that is clean
and quiet. The dog should be monitored from the
time the walk begins until you see him slow down.
As the dog matures, the walks can be extended.
When the dog is young, he will be much more energetic
than an older one. A puppy doesn’t need
a strenuous workout; walking at a steady pace
should give the dog enough exercise to reduce
energy. If the dog does not appear to have benefited
from a walk, additional exercise is necessary.
The walk can be extended or yard play can be introduced.
The breed of your dog must be considered when
you think about an exercise regimen. Small breeds,
with smaller legs and lungs, should not be taken
for extended walks or runs. In fact, ALL breeds
of puppies should avoid lengthy walking or running.
Strenuous exercise for young dogs can result in
joint injury or broken bones.
There are quite a few fun and interesting games
that dogs can play, and these games provide enjoyment
as well as exercise for the dogs and dog owners
Where Did It Go? – This
is a retrieval game and a form of ‘hide
and seek.’ The dog’s favorite toy
can be hidden in the house or yard, then the phrase,
“Where did it go?” can be repeated
while the owner and dog look for the hidden toy.
Let the dog find the toy, and give it a small
treat each time the toy is found.
The Travel Tunnel or Maze –
Using cardboard boxes or sheets and chairs, produce
a tunnel with twists and turns. Have the dog follow
you as you travel through the tunnel, then prompt
the dog to go through himself.
Hard Ball Catch – Buy
a ball with a tough surface from the pet store.
Dogs love to chase and catch these balls because
they bounce high, they travel fast through the
air, and they’re built to withstand strong
Retrieval Games – This
is an old standby during which your dog is taught
to retrieve. A dog who retrieves develops obedience
along with exercise. Note that anything that is
retrieved should be thrown for distance, not height.
If a dog jumps too high, too often, debilitating
knee or joint injuries may occur.
The Brain Strain – It’s
important to exercise a dog’s mind as well
as his body. Take a bowl and hide dog treats or
a favorite toy underneath. Let the dog figure
out how to get the bowl turned over and find the
treats or toy.
Family Swimming – A home
with a pool is deal for a dog that has been taught
not to fear water. Make this a family event; everyone
can go swimming at a designated time and everyone
can keep an eye on the dog. This exercise has
multiple benefits for both humans and animals.
Also, if you have plastic toys, the dog could
play fetch in the pool or swim laps with a family
member. Never allow the dog access to the pool
when he is unsupervised. Train your dog how to
exit the pool by using the steps or a dog ramp.
Train Your Dog to Obey You and
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking