Dogs were developed to work alongside humans, but over the years we’ve cut down their workload to, in many cases, just snuggling with us on the couch. While that time spent bonding and watching their favorite show (Freyja loves An Idiot Abroad) is great, your dog needs exercise. Humans are supposed to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and that recommendation can be applied to dogs as well. Most dogs should get between 30 minutes and an hour of exercise, but more active dog breeds (herding dogs, working dogs, and hunting dogs) require longer periods of exercise.
There are plenty of benefits to exercising your pup, other than the obvious health ones. A well-exercised dog will be better behaved, more receptive to training, and happier to cuddle on the couch.
Some of my dogs’ favorite exercises are listed below.
This one is simple. I usually take them on walks a few times a week. With Thor we do a shorter walk, and Freyja and I go for runs. It fits in perfectly with my exercise schedule and kills two birds with one stone. This is a good one for people who are looking to get healthier themselves, as it forces you to be an active participant.
Walking does more than physical exercise. It serves as great mental stimulation as well. Your pups will be exposed to their surroundings and use their senses more than they would in the house.
Fetch or Keep Away
Playing fetch appeals to the natural scavenging/hunting instincts in your pup. This workout can be done inside or outside, so it is a good one for rainy days or perfect weather. Freyja and I play keep away more than fetch, because she likes to chase after me and try to grab her toy.
This one is undoubtedly her favorite activity. She’s not shy about letting me know she’s ready to play, either. No matter what I’m doing in the house, she will walk up, throw her toy at me, and give her patented howl.
While this doesn’t necessarily count as a workout for you, it’s a good one for your pup and can be done while you are doing something else.
Hide and Seek
Brain exercises are just as great as physical ones. For this exercise, you can be the object they are seeking, or you can use a toy. I like to combine this with a bit of nose work for my pups by placing some plastic cups around the house and putting healthy treats under a few. It gets them to run around and use their noses to figure out which cups have a treat underneath.
Thor doesn’t like hide and seek with toys, so that method is a good alternative. With Freyja, I hide a toy and ask her to go get it. She’ll run around and look for it until she inevitably finds it and brings it back.
These routines aren’t as physically demanding but stimulate the brain and senses, which tire out dogs just like a long day at the office tires you out.
There are an abundance of ways to exercise your dog, be sure to try the one that works best for you and your pup. A healthy, well exercised dog is a happy and well behaved one.