EXERCISING WITH YOUR DOG

 

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Just like people, dogs need regular exercise and stimulation to keep them in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally. And since dogs crave human companionship, then who better to choose as your exercise partner than your pooch?

Frequent activity positively impacts your dog’s health in many ways, benefiting his muscles, bones, digestion, sleep, circulation, and general attitude. The bond between canine and human also encourages humans to exercise more frequently and lose more weight than most nationally known diet plans. A key reason for the better results is that the dog walkers stayed with the program because of their emotional connection to their dogs.

REMEMBER A TIRED DOG IS A HAPPY DOG!

TIPS TO GET STARTED

  • Exercise needs vary from dog to dog, depending on the dog’s breed, age, weight, and other factors. Therefore, it is wise to consult with your vet before starting an exercise program with your dog—and be sure to consult with your own Doctor about the right program for you!
  •  Take things slowly at first. Begin with short sessions at a slow speed, then gradually increase the time, speed and distance.
  •  Your dog’s paw pads will need time to toughen, so begin walking or running with him on soft surfaces such as dirt, sand or grass.
  •  Avoid exercising your dog immediately before or after your dog's eaten. A full stomach may cause digestive upsets. Provide only small amounts of water before and directly after exercise.

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KEEP THINGS INTERESTING

  •  Just letting your dog out in the garden is not enough—most dogs do not exercise themselves. Likewise, a brief daily walk may not be enough either. However, you can keep your dog both physically and mentally active on your daily walk by varying how you walk.
  •  Change the pace. Intermittently walk fast, slow, stop, etc.  Your dog will come to see this as a game and will find the activity fun and stimulating.
  •  Change directions frequently. Go left, then right, turn in front of the dog, reverse direction, etc. Each time you make a change in direction, give a gentle flick of the lead to alert your dog you are about to change direction.
  •  Give obedience commands as you go. Stop and ask your dog to sit, lie down, etc.

BE SENSIBLE

  •  No matter how fit your dog, his/her enthusiasm may overcome his/her common sense to know when to rest.
  •  Stop the exercise/games if your dog seems to be getting overly tired.
  •  Be sure he/she has access to fresh drinking water, but prevent stomach upset by limiting intake if your dog is heavily panting.
  •  Take doggie poo bags to clean up after your dog.

POODLE by Kitsenfreeimage-4696040IN WINTER

  •  Dress your short-coated dog in a doggie coat or sweater to keep him/her warm.
  •  After a romp in the snow, wipe your dog’s paw pads and between the toes to remove any snow, ice or road salts that may have accumulated there.
  •  Watch for signs of hypothermia.   Dogs can get very cold very quickly and can even suffer from frostbite.

IN SUMMER

  •  Exercise in the cool hours of the morning or late evening.
  •  Watch for signs of heat stroke.
  •  Beware of hot tarmac, which can damage your dog’s paw pads.
  •  Allow frequent rests to enable your dog to cool down.

EXERCISE YOUR DOGS MIND

Exercise your dog’s brain, too. Just 15 minutes once or twice a day of teaching basic obedience can tire your dog in a different way that is just as essential to his/her overall health and happiness. Review or teach the basics such as sit, stay, come, and walking on lead to energize the lethargic dog and tire out the hyper dog.

EXERCISE WITH FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS

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In addition to being great exercise for you and your dog, walking is an activity almost anyone can participate in and a great way to get to know your neighbours! Organize a monthly, weekly, or even daily walking group for your neighbourhood. Keep it interesting by choosing different destinations (like parks or dog-friendly cafes where you can sit outside safely with your dogs), or up the intensity by choosing portions of the walk to pick up the pace and walk at speed. This will keep your dog intellectually as well as physically engaged and is guaranteed to wear you both out!

 

 EXERCISE ON YOUR BIKE (BIKEJORING)

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Once your dog has a firm grasp on basic obedience and on-lead manners, consider bringing him along on your bike rides! There are a variety of devices and special harnesses that are specifically made for this sport—called “bikejoring”—that attach your dog safely to a bicycle. Never attempt this by just holding your dog’s normal lead in your hand while steering. Start slowly, guiding your dog along at a steady pace, and keep rides short. Gradually build speed and distance.  

Click here for more detailed information on how to enjoy the sport of bikejoring with your dog.  

 

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