Normal, healthy dogs need a substantial amount of exercise to stay mentally and physically fit. Dogs that have had sufficient daily exercise are easier to manage, are generally less destructive and develop fewer bad habits. Our premise has always been that tired dogs are well behaved and thereby produce happy owners.
Before you begin any new exercise program, please make sure your dog has had a recent physical checkup and that the dog is in good health and physically sound. If there are any medical issues, exercise should be adapted to safely meet the dog’s needs.
A brisk walk on leash may be great exercise for a miniature Dachshund but be totally inadequate for a young German Shepherd Dog. Typically, owners get tired after a one mile walk but the dog just considers it a warm up. Increasing your speed, walking up hills and increasing distance may improve the quality of exercise your dog is getting if walking on leash is its primary form of physical activity.
By using a long line (30-50’) that the dog can trail in a safe area like a field or playground allows the dog to romp and run but enables the owner to stop the dog from running off simply by stepping on the line. This can really improve the quality of the exercise the dog is getting. Obviously, if you are elderly, disabled or your dog outweighs you, this may not be the best technique for you to use.
Gradually increasing your dog’s stamina by slowly increasing the speed and distance he or she is walking can then give you the option of running with the dog. Running is great aerobic exercise for both of you
Occasionally it seems challenging to know what the adequate amount of exercise is for any individual dog. This is best determined by trial and error. The “right” amount is what gets the dog to settle afterwards and does not get him revved up and out of control. Sometimes it’s even more challenging to provide it. Here are some ideas for physical and mental exercise for your pet. Some suggestions require that you participate as well. Others are suitable for owners who have exercise restrictions or for any owner contending with bad weather or when time doesn’t allow for more aerobic activity. Even if you cannot run, bike or swim with your pet, you can exercise your dog sufficiently. And remember, tired dogs are much better behaved! That’s a huge plus, especially when dealing with a high energy puppy or adolescent dog.