Category Archives: exercise

Do Different Dogs Have Different Exercise Needs?

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.

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Inside and Outside Games for Active Dogs

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.

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Telltale Signs Your Dog Needs More Exercise

By Linda Cole

The majority of dog breeds were created to work with humans, doing a job that helps us in some way. A job is second nature for dogs, and something they love to do. Unfortunately, not every herding dog has their own flock of sheep, and many hounds never follow a trail to find the critter at the end of it. However, even couch potato dogs need a certain amount of exercise to help them stay fit and healthy, and there are telltale signs your dog shows that says he wants – and needs – more exercise.

Besides controlling weight, exercise releases a mood altering hormone in the brain called serotonin, which leaves the body with a satisfied “high” in both humans and dogs. Tension and pent-up energy melt away after a workout, whether it’s jogging with their owner, training for a dog sport, or spending quality time playing fetch with their best two-legged friend.

By the time you get home from work, your dog is ready for some action. Imagine his disappointment when you plop down in front of the TV to relax. Dogs that are crated or confined to a small area in the home are especially eager for a romp in the backyard or a brisk walk. Here are some of the ways a dog shows that he needs more exercise:

Racing or pacing through the house

A hyper dog is trying to burn off energy. This kind of excited behavior inside the home is when end tables are knocked over, something gets broken, and people or other pets get run over. The behavior may seem cute when a small dog runs around a room as fast as he can, but he’s telling you he wants more exercise in the only way he can.

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Wag-Worthy Dog Benefit Ideas

By Tamara McRill

Who doesn’t love a rollicking good time that ends with a huge doggie smile – all to benefit a good cause? As dog lovers, we are often a part of charitable canine organizations or wish we could help raise funds for specific doggy needs. Yet it can be hard to come up with fun ways to get people to participate.

Here is a list of dog benefit ideas that you can whip out the next time your favorite shelter, pet charity or dog in need deserves a little organized help. Each of these has activities that are dog-themed and/or allows dogs to participate. Otherwise, how could we call them wag-worthy?

Dog Walks/5k Run Events 

Many cities across the country have these events, and a 5k walk or run might work in your town, too. One way to raise money through this event is to get your participants to take pledges for distance increments or if they finish the race. You could even have a box for people to donate needed items. One way to spice up this event is to have runners come in costume – and their dogs, too! You can either pick a theme or let it be anything goes.

Make sure you train your dog for the event, just like you wouldn’t go run a marathon without being an experienced runner. Although dogs may seem ready-made to tackle a long run, they can also get hurt or become ill if they don’t build up their endurance. Also, be sure you train by actually running with your dog, so they are used to your rhythm.

Mini Pet Fairs 

What better way to spark up a fun atmosphere of charitable giving than with a fair? You can have games for the dogs, like “find the stuffed animal” or agility contests. Have supporting companies set up booths as vendors. Pet fairs can also feature adoptions.

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Simple Mistakes We Make When Exercising a Dog

By Linda Cole

We know it’s important to keep our dogs active to help prevent obesity and keep them healthy in body and spirit. Most dogs are willing partners when you want to go hiking, biking, jogging or walking, or participate in a fun sport like dock diving, Disc Dog, agility or flyball. The last thing any responsible pet owner wants to do is put their dog at risk for injury, but without realizing it we can be guilty of doing just that.

Too much exercise with no conditioning 

Most dogs have an athletic side. They love to run, play, jump and race around as fast as they can. Because they want to be with us, preferably everywhere we go, we can easily forget that a dog may not be ready for a five mile run or an afternoon of hiking. Like us, dogs need conditioning and time to build up muscles and stamina. They are as susceptible to soft tissue injuries as we are, and can pull a tendon or get a sprain. Many dogs do enjoy sports, but just like any human athlete-in-training, it’s important to start slow and take the time needed to gradually get into shape for any physical activity.

Make sure your dog can keep up with you, and you can keep up with him. A Chihuahua isn’t a good running partner, and a Greyhound may leave you in his dust. If your dog isn’t on equal terms with you as far as his fitness goes, a walk around the block may be enough exercise for him. If your dog has more energy than you do, play with him in the backyard, then take him for a walk or run.

Forgetting how weather can affect a dog 

The pads of a dog’s feet act like shock absorbers to cushion the feet and protect them when walking on hot and cold surfaces. But the pads can be burned by walking on a hot surface like asphalt, concrete or metal. Check your pet’s paw pads for cuts, puncture wounds, burrs or small rocks, and keep their pads healthy by making sure they are free of injuries.

Know the signs of heat stroke, hyperthermia and hypothermia, and pay attention to how well your dog tolerates different weather conditions. Hydration is important for both of you – always have fresh water available for you and your dog when exercising. Don’t force your pet to continue exercising if he’s showing signs of fatigue. You may be ready to go another mile, but your dog may not be.

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No Yard? 5 Ways to Still Exercise Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

While a big backyard can be wonderful for excising our dogs, a lot of pet owners just don’t have that luxury. That’s something I learned when we downsized from two lots of running space to a teeny tiny yard.

Luckily, I was able to find several solutions that worked for us, as well as some that would also work for any pet owner who has more pent-up dog energy than grass square footage.

1. Leash Up and Head Out

It might be an obvious solution, but taking your dog to a place where they can exercise certainly solves the problem. If you don’t have access to a dog park or are unable to walk your dog for long distances, then consider a friend’s yard. We make use of a neighbor’s fenced-in backyard on occasion, so my Wuppy can get in some of the free running he’s used to.

2. Hire Help

Sometimes time is an added problem, along with little yard space. If you ever run into a situation where you just get too busy to take your dog out to walk or play, then consider hiring a dog walker or taking them to a doggie daycare. That way, your dog gets all the exercise they need and deserve, and you don’t have to feel guilty about being so busy. Plus, you get to spend your spare time snuggling with your pet!

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