By Linda Cole
We know it’s important to make sure our dogs get proper exercise to help maintain their weight and overall health, and provide mental stimulation. Every dog, regardless of size, needs a chance to stretch their legs every day, but how much exercise is enough? Breed does make a difference in the amount of exercise needed, and a dog that isn’t given a chance to get rid of pent up energy can develop bad behaviors.
Before beginning any strenuous activities, you should have your vet give your dog a checkup to make sure he’s up to a more physical workout. Each dog is an individual and it’s important to create an exercise routine that takes into account breed, age and physical condition. Old or current injuries, weather conditions and the amount of exercise needed should also be considered when it comes to daily exercise.
You can encourage your dog to play with other dogs at the dog park, or learn how to do agility or other dog sports, but you should never force him to do something he isn’t interested in doing. The amount of daily exercise should be based on what a dog was bred to do. That’s one reason why it’s helpful having a general idea of which breeds make up your mixed breed dog.
By Linda Cole
Keeping your dog on a routine is important. Canines like to know what’s going to happen throughout the day. I guess that makes it easier for them to plan out their busy schedule of chasing the cat, barking at the mailman and wolfing down their tasty CANIDAE food. The daily walk is an important part of your dog’s routine, but it can become a bit boring if you do the same thing every day. It’s good to spice it up now and then, to make it more fun for both of you.
Change the Pace
Many dogs enjoy getting out for a run, and jogging is a good way to build endurance and burn off calories. However, jogging isn’t for everyone or every dog. You can still mix up your pace and walk faster or slower, and in doing so you establish yourself as the leader by controlling the speed. Quickly changing directions helps to teach your dog to pay attention to you. Mixing up both speed and direction can make a walk even more stimulating.
Have Alternate Routes
A walk is not nearly as interesting when you see the same things day in and day out. Varying your route gives you different sights, smells and sounds that enrich the senses of both you and your dog. A nature trail offers different stimulation than a walk around the neighborhood. If you don’t have a trail close by, you can always drive to a nearby park or trail. When you walk out the door with your dog, he will look to you to see what’s going to happen next. Anticipation is part of the fun.
By Laurie Darroch
Like human beings, dogs react to stressful situations. Dogs show their anxiety through altered behavior, by becoming clingy, acting out, or even withdrawing. Unlike human beings though, dogs cannot express their anxiety in the verbal ways we do. It is up to a responsible pet owner to pay attention to the physical and behavioral cues their dog exhibits, and respond accordingly to help their dog calm down and deal with the situation that is giving them stress and anxiety.
Touch and contact helps both humans and dogs relieve anxiety, fear and stress. When a dog feels cut off from their human, their anxiety level is likely to increase. If they are hurting physically, just being close to you may help keep them calmer. Petting and cuddling your dog will help take away some of the anxiety.
By Laurie Darroch
Although taking a dog for a walk is a good way for both of you to get some exercise, there are additional reasons to get out of the house for a stroll.
Humans and dogs both react to stressful events in their lives, and also to stressful people. A dog does not always know how to release that stress and anxiety. They also react to your stress and may show it in destructive or odd behavioral ways. No matter how big or small the stress is, it is important to utilize ways to reduce or even eliminate it in healthy ways.
A walk gives both you and the dog a physical and mental outlet for some of the stress. Going out to see and focus on other things besides what is causing stress or anxiety is a healthy way to get your minds and senses on other things for awhile.
By Langley Cornwell
When we adopted our shy, fearful pup, we learned that one of the things which would be vital for her is to have a solid routine she could count on that included plenty of exercise. We have done a fairly good job in this area, especially the exercise part, and it has helped her with some of her quirky behavior.
Dogs that are well-adjusted need real exercise too. Access to a large backyard doesn’t count as exercise; most dogs just find a sunny spot where they can lounge. And for some dogs, a few short walks around the block may not be enough. Different dogs do have different exercise needs and as a responsible pet owner, it’s important to know what your dog needs so he can thrive.
Lack of Exercise
If a dog isn’t exercised enough, bad behaviors may arise, including destroying things in your house. Early on, our dog had a penchant for shoes, which was a real drag. We had to remember to keep our closet door shut at all times. I’ve known dogs that have destroyed furniture, and my husband claims he once had a dog that chewed through drywall. Other examples of bad behavior include jumping on people, obsessively begging for attention or asking for playtime, digging, running around and excessively barking. Neurotic tendencies can develop as well, including self-licking or chasing their own tail.
When your dog resorts to behaviors like this, he isn’t trying to annoy you. The destructive behaviors are entertaining to him. He is just releasing pent-up energy that he didn’t have an opportunity to release in a more human-friendly manner.
By Linda Cole
Channeling an active dog’s energy takes some creative thought. It can be challenging to find a good workout for a dog that seems to never run down. Not everyone has the time or desire to run an agility course or participate in other organized dog sports. The good news is there are indoor and outdoor games you can play with your active dog to help him wind down.
It’s not always possible to take your dog outside to run off energy, especially in winter when the cold and snow keeps everyone inside, except for quick duty calls. My dogs have been suffering from cabin fever because of the frigid temps. Active dogs still need exercise to get rid of excess energy, though. Inside games can give your dog a way to use up some energy while you stimulate his mind with some thinking games. You’ll need his favorite CANIDAE treats, and a space where you and your dog can move around without breaking things.
Who’s Got the Treat?
You need at least two people to play this game, and the more the merrier. Show your dog a treat, then start passing it around from one person to the next while he sits and watches. Show him the treat now and then as he follows it around. Don’t get too carried away or your dog will lose interest. After 7 or 8 passes, ask your dog to find the treat. When he discovers who has it, have him sit, lie down or perform any command he knows and give him the treat. If it’s just you and your dog, hide treats around the house for him to find.
Inside Red Light, Green Light
This game can be played with or without music. Move, dance or jump around, encouraging your dog to join in. At some point, freeze in position and give your dog the sit command. Immediately give a treat for complying, then start the game again. Each time you stop, ask him to sit until you start to move again. Instead of jumping around, you can have him follow you around the room or house, walking up and down steps, or anywhere inside or outside until you stop. Treat when he sits, then continue the game.