Home Dog Health & Wellness Exercise Your Dog: Essential How-To Tips for a Healthy Pet

Exercise Your Dog: Essential How-To Tips for a Healthy Pet

by Helen
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Dog exercise can help control weight, boost energy, and improve health for both dogs and their owners.

Although exercise may not always be associated with fun for many of us, dogs always seem to be happy and excited to get moving.  However, dog exercise isn't just for entertainment purposes.  Daily walks and physical activity are essential to keeping your pet mentally and physically healthy.  Fortunately, there are many fun and easy ways to ensure your dog gets enough exercise.  Before we dive into some of the top dog exercise ideas, let's look at what makes an active dog happy. 

When adopting a dog, it's essential to consider their exercise needs.  To learn more about preparing for a new pup or pet, check out our article—vital tips for a safe and comfortable road trip with your new furry friend.

The Benefits of Dog Exercise

Regular exercise for your dog is not only crucial for keeping them in shape, but it also has several benefits. 

  • It helps to prevent obesity by burning excess calories and keeps them well-behaved as they don't need to find creative ways to entertain themselves, like barking or damaging furniture. 
  • It also keeps their brain active, mainly when you include brain games and puzzles as part of their exercise routine. 
  • Additionally, it's a great stress reliever for both you and your dog. It reduces the likelihood of health issues such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and obesity-related problems like diabetes or heart disease. 
  • Finally, exercising together creates a stronger bond between you and your dog as you explore new activities and share experiences.
  • It creates a stronger bond when you're out and about and exercising in many different ways.

Types of Dog Exercises

Helping your dog stay in shape should be an enjoyable and engaging experience for both of you. You should not limit dog exercise to long, time-consuming walks only. If your dog does the same daily exercise routine, they will get bored just as you would. To make exercise exciting and engaging, it is necessary to vary your routine regularly. This will not only make every day exciting but also make both of you happier while exercising. You might even forget you're burning off energy as you engage in fun and varied activities.

Super Chewer Dog Toys

1) Walking with your dog

It's essential to plan different routes for your dog walks and change them regularly. Incorporating some playtime with games and challenges can also be beneficial. It's crucial to ensure your dog gets enough exercise to release all their pent-up energy but keep them from over-exerting them. Consider how much running around they can handle before they become tired and ensure they have enough energy to return.

2) Playing Fetch With Your Dog

If your dog has more energy than you do (which is often the case), you can play fetch with a ball or a flying disc. This type of exercise is always enjoyable for dogs and allows them to run long distances without straying too far away from you. Additionally, you won't get too tired out either. This is especially beneficial for puppies and young dogs with boundless enthusiasm when playing with you.

With positive reinforcement in the form of hugs and pats but not too many food treats, as this can lead to weight problems.  Many dogs will gladly wear out your throwing arm! Instead of sticks, which can splinter and potentially damage their teeth, throat, or stomach, choose some fun throwing toys such as balls or squeaky shapes, which you could also play ‘tug-of-war' with a twisted rope toy.

3) Dog Sports

If you want to exercise your dog, consider dog sports. These activities can be gentle or energetic and may involve working with other dogs or practicing alone. There's a dog sport for every type of dog and owner! You can learn more about the different dog sports available to you and your furry friend by checking out our article. One example of a great dog sport is swimming.

4) Swimming

Swimming is an excellent exercise for dogs as it helps improve their circulation and metabolism. Moreover, it is a low-impact activity that is gentle on the joints, making it a perfect choice for all dogs, particularly those with arthritis or dysplasia.

Positive Reenforcment

Dogs love to play, and with positive reinforcement in the form of hugs and pats, they will be more than happy to keep playing. However, using only a few food treats is essential as this can lead to weight problems. When playing fetch, it's best to avoid using sticks as they can splinter and potentially harm your dog's teeth, throat, or stomach. Instead, choose some fun throwing toys such as balls or squeaky shapes. You can also use toys to play tug-of-war with your dog.

Remember that your dog loves spending time with you, so it's essential to make that time really special. Instead of just going to the same park daily, try new activities and explore new places together. Meeting new dogs and following new scents can be a lot of fun for both you and your furry friend!

Dog Exercise for Different Breeds

Different dog breeds have different exercise needs. Some breeds require more frequent and vigorous exercise than others. You can choose the type of exercise and activities based on your dog's natural instincts and preferences. For example, terriers love to dig, hounds enjoy chasing things, and herding breeds are fond of canine sports. You can keep your dog happy and healthy by incorporating activities that align with your dog's natural tendencies. Learn more about how to cater to your dog's exercise needs and discover their innate abilities to make their exercise routine engaging and enjoyable.

When we walk out dogs they are always on a leash and harness because since they are a working breed they will bolt if they see a squirell, rabbit or any critter.  Therfore, keep them on a leash to prevent them from running off is essential.   You can keep your dog happy and healthy by incorporating activities that align with your dog's natural tendencies.  Learn more about how to cater to your dog's exercise needs and discover their innate abilities to make their exercise routine engaging and enjoyable.

My Experience With Herding Dogs

Addie is our Australian Shepherd, known for being an active and intelligent breed. Therefore, we make sure to give her plenty of attention and exercise by taking her on regular walks, runs, and playtime to keep her happy and healthy.

Kallie, our Blue Heeler, also has a lot of energy to burn. Therefore, we ensure that she gets regular exercise and playtime. Her playtime includes playing tug of war with us or with Addie and fetching her toys. It doesn't matter whether she is indoors or outdoors; Kallie always wants to fetch her dog toys.

Finally, Belle our Catahoula Leopard Dog even thought she is a herding dog she isn't very active.  She is happy just running around the backyard with the other pups.

How does age affect your dog's exercise?

As dogs grow and mature, their exercise needs change. It is essential to consider their energy levels and physical abilities.

Exercise For Puppies

It's important to remember that when it comes to exercise for puppies, their physical abilities are limited, and their bones are still growing, making them more susceptible to injuries. A general rule is that puppies should have no more than 5 minutes of exercise for each month of age, twice a day. To understand the difference between walking and playing for puppies, check out our simple guide to puppy exercise.

Exercise For Older Dogs

 

“If your dog is older, they may enjoy a more relaxed and leisurely pace during their walks. However, they will still appreciate a change of scenery. You can still mix up their walks and vary the terrain they traverse, ensuring they have plenty of fascinating sights and smells to discover.”

What to do if your dog is not used to exercising?

If your dog is not used to regular exercise and you have decided to start a routine, it is essential to begin gently so that both you and your dog can adjust gradually. Start with short periods of activity at a slow pace and gradually increase the time, speed, and distance until your dog gets the right amount of exercise for their size, breed, and weight. If you need more clarification about the appropriate amount of exercise for your dog, check with your veterinarian.

If you want your dog to be happier while walking or running, it's recommended to start with soft surfaces like dirt, sand, or grass until their foot pads toughen up. It's also a good idea to keep your dog on a lead or a head collar/harness first to avoid them wandering off. If your dog is well-trained to come back when called, you can let them run off-lead with peace of mind.

If your dog has a history of medical issues, consult your vet to plan a customized exercise program that suits their specific needs.

Final Thoughts: Ways To Exercise Your Dog

Remember that exercising with your dog should be a fun and varied activity that brings satisfaction to both of you. With a sense of adventure, you can never go wrong! There are plenty of tips available for spending quality time with your furry friend while playing together. When buying toys for your dog, consider the environmental impact. Look for sustainable options made from recycled or natural materials like hemp or organic cotton. These options are eco-friendly and provide safe and healthy playtime for your pet.

READ NEXT: 10 Toddler Room Ideas Your Tot Will Love

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