Maintaining the health and fitness of your dog is essential when looking to be a caring and responsible owner. Young or old, your dog needs exercise and stimulation to live a happy and contented life.
The secret to keeping your best friend active is variety. It is easy to overdo one activity over another, making your pet vulnerable to injury. Therefore, if variety is the answer, understanding the range of activities to engage your dog is vital. Here we offer some of the best ways to maintain a dog’s mental and physical fitness.
Whether it is a ball or a frisbee, fetch is the most-loved game by dogs. Why? It requires them to chase what you have thrown and sniff it out when it lands. Quick bursts of running are excellent for physical fitness, and the need to search through sniffing exercises their mental faculties too.
Dogs love this game too, and often cannot get enough of chasing the ball. Be careful when the dog is young to minimize this play to very short bursts. A puppy's joints are still developing, and excessive running can cause developmental problems.
To truly tire out your hound, you need to engage the body and mind. Putting together an obstacle course and training your dog to navigate it is terrific exercise. It is also an excellent way to bond with a dog and take its training to the next level.
You can use hoops or objects that they can weave around. Some dog parks have ramps and bridges that they can navigate.
Tug toys offer excellent indoor exercise when the outdoors isn’t appealing for a long hike. When you watch dogs playing together, you will notice a favorite game is to pull an object between them. Using their muscles in this way improves strength and helps you bond with the dog in play. Be sure to get a set command in place, such as release, for when you do not want to engage in this game – when you want to regain ownership of your socks, for instance.
Go For a Long Walk
Getting out into the wilds and letting your dog roam where appropriate is excellent for physical and mental stimulation. A dog is likely to walk double or triple for every mile you walk. You also allow them to investigate new smells and explore new places, which is excellent for mental stimulation.
Again, be sure to match the length and rigor of this walk to the breed and age of the dog. You do not want to encourage injuries because of over-exertion.
If your dog is a fan of the water, you are really in luck. Five minutes of swimming is like 5 km of walking for a dog. Not only is it a great way to exercise dogs on hot days, but they also have a fantastic amount of fun splashing around.
For dogs who are a little more tentative about water, you can take them to specialist pools and put a life jacket on your pet. Giving them lots of praise and reinforcing swimming as a positive thing with praise and treats can help. You might want to use this approach when the dog struggles to exercise in other ways due to joint issues, etc., and you still want the animal to be physically fit.
The only thing to be cautious of when swimming outdoors is the coldness and water flow. You do not want your dog to be swept away and must be cautious of your animal’s body temperature.
Training and Agility
Engaging your dog in some form of training is an excellent way to stimulate and exercise them. We should all hope to have the basic recall and some others, such as sit and release. However, dogs are adept at learning all sorts of commands and enjoy praise when they get these things right. It is a powerful bonding experience between dog and owner, as the dog loves nothing more than pleasing.
Higher-level training, such as agility and the ability to find hidden objects, are excellent for enhancing mental and physical health.
The bond between dog and owner is elevated when you engage in activities with your animal. It is about keeping the dog fit and healthy and making the most of the relationship.
You may now notice that there is more to training and exercising a dog than you thought. Why not dip into further knowledge courses to increase your understanding of what you can do with your pet?