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Exercising any dog breed is essential to the overall health and happiness of the animal. There are over 400 breeds of canines and each has their own exercise needs and special training nuances. A key to enjoying a happy and healthy relationship with your pet is to first know your own lifestyle and to get a dog that matches.
The amount of time you are prepared to spare exercising your dog should determine the breed of dog you take up as a pet. To lead a healthy and happy life, every dog needs exercise—the extent of which varies according to the dog’s sex, age, breed and health.
The importance of adequate exercising is reflected in the huge number of dogs who have confinement and lack of exercise to blame for poor muscle and bone growth, obesity, cardiac ailments and a host of other physical and emotional problems.
It is important keep in mind the structure of your pet’s body. You can tell an Irish Setter has the physique to run and that a Bichon Frise does not. Picking out a pet that suits your lifestyle is very important so that you do not have irreconcilable differences. Depending on the breed you have there are a number of activities that will enhance their lives and yours including walks in the woods or on trails, swimming in rivers and even pools and running on dog tracks and even indoor equipment like treadmills. Just like people, pets require certain levels of activity to maintain ideal heart rate and blood pressure. Know your breed and his specific needs and try to match closely with your own so you can forge a stronger bond by exercising together.
It’s a wise idea to have your dog thoroughly examined by a vet before starting him off on an exercise regimen
To obtain professional advice on the exact amount of exercise required by your dog
To rule out possibilities of disabilities, weaknesses or any cardiac and/or circulatory problems.
To chalk out a strict exercise routine to be religiously followed thereafter.
Males of most species display greater stamina than females. A puppy, again, is expected to be infinitely more zealous than an aged dog.
While the enthusiasm to exercise is a sign of good health in your dog, it can be dangerous to push diseased and weak dogs too hard on their work-outs.
If you are a high-energy person who loves to be out doors walking, hiking or jogging then a Retriever, Labrador or Setter will make a perfect companion. These breeds love to run and enjoy the companionship on a hike through the woods or on a beach. These dogs will not hesitate to jump in a lake or stream and will often lead the way on any outside excursion. While energetic and athletic, these dog breeds usually prefer to exercise with you and unless you join them, they might not make the effort.
Breeds like Irish Setters, Great Danes, Border Collies etc., need vigorous exercises. These breeds need brisk, long walks, preferably twice a day. Running or playing freely in a large sized fenced yard or keeping up with a speeding bicycle is also enjoyable for them.
Because of their high energy levels, these breeds are not fit for apartment life and are prone to frustration and aggression if not exercised well.
High exercises stretching from 60-90 minutes daily, including walks, playtime, are necessary for Labrador Retrievers, Bloodhounds etc. These breeds do okay in apartments but do best with a good sized yard.
Regular exercise is a must, or they are prone to boredom and aggression.
If you are an urban dweller who isn’t very active then do not get a dog that is. Inactivity is a sure way to make any retriever depressed and life in a luxury condo is not their idea of fun. This is usually when furniture starts to get torn apart. For a slower pace lifestyle look into such breeds as Bulldogs and Dachshunds that require minimal exercise and are just as content laying around the house as they are going for a walk.
Dogs with short legs, e.g. Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, will burn enough energy by moderate exercises—playing around the house or fenced backyard/garden with their favorite toys or going out for a walk once a day.
These breeds do well in an apartment and not highly demanding regards a good sized backyard.
The saying “let a sleeping dog lie” is true when it comes to breeds that require light to minimal exercise. Do not force a Chinese Created or a Shih Tzu to run or walk. They are quite content to lounge around and could take offense to your pushing them to move. A light walk in the morning and evening is about all such breeds need for exercise.
Toy and Companion dogs like Chinese Crested, English Toy Spaniel etc. are bred to sit around looking pretty. Their requirement for low exercises can be satisfied by simply scampering around the house, picking up new tricks or going for short walks.
These breeds are perfect for apartment living.
The best forms of exercise combine a balanced workout of both mind and body. Any form of strenuous exercise should be preceded by a warm-up phase and followed by a cool-down period. For a less fit dog, a longer warm up and shorter strenuous exercise period may be appropriate.
For a dog not up to high levels of activity, the mental and physical warm-up alone may be ideal, with no strenuous exercise at all. Often a good routine is to “pulse” the exercise in short segments, alternating between focused mental tasks and more strenuous physical ones.
Walking is by far the most common form of exercise. The length of the walk would vary from breed to breed. When taking a dog out for a run or a jog, it’s advisable to avoid stone or concrete paths. Grassy roads or parks are best suited for this purpose as they would be easy on his paws. Keeping the dog on an extendable leash would allow it ample freedom and grant the owner suitable control at the same time.
Letting a dog chase a bicycle or a vehicle might be risky. Dogs love active games like Frisbee, Fetch (with toys or balls), tug-of-war and the like. It also provides a good opportunity for the owner to bond with his dog. However, care should be taken to see to it that the dog doesn’t jump too high and land in awkward positions and injure himself.
Swimming is another great way for a dog to burn calories and keep himself cool on a sultry day. Climbing stairs is the quickest way for a dog to lose weight and keep fit. One can also take resort to the gym equipments specially designed for dogs.
Along with exercising, it’s equally important for the dog to socialize and connect with other dogs and people. In the process, the dog would gradually pick up vital lessons on correct behavior and obedience.
Owners should keep an eye on the dog for signs of over-exertion, like excessive panting, bleeding pads, vacant stares, pale lips or face.
“A Good Dog Is A Tired Dog”. So if the dog exhibits no signs of exertion and/or shows signs of pent-up energy when it returns from its walks, it is not getting enough exercise. To learn to rest calmly is as important for a dog as exercise is.
Dogs are susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat strokes. It’s thus unwise to make a dog over-exert itself on a hot day. And of course, it’s essential to keep a dog hydrated and supplement his exercise with good quality dog food rich in proteins and essential minerals.
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