These days, it is really heartening to find dog owners putting that special emphasis on their pets. Dogs, especially sedentary, better fed ones, may suffer from a “pudgy problem” if their owners are not regular in giving it exercise. About 35% of pets these days are overweight and such obesity increases the risk of other health conditions like diabetes, respiratory problems and heart disease. Dogs become obese for the very same reason we do – too many treats! Owners will be amazed at the simple and more “sporty” ways to get their dogs fit and healthy.
Exercising your dog very much involves exercising yourself as well. It reaps dual benefits for yourself and him!
Now why should we put Fido through a little bit of physical training?
Exercising with your pet boosts your moods.
A well exercised dog is a happy dog. After releasing pent up energy, he is usually more cheerful and game for anything. This extends to his owner as well. Exercising always gives one the chance to release pent up negative energy!
It is not uncommon to see many dog owners going for regular jogs with their pooches. Both dogs and owners usually radiate much positive energy!
Exercising with your dog lowers your blood pressure.
Exercising with your dog will lower your blood pressure and keep you in great cardiovascular shape.
Exercising with your pet motivates you to exercise as well.
Your pet will usually bug you to go on exercises with him. This will ensure that you keep to your own exercise routine!
Cloudy, my West Highland Terrier, usually bugs me to take her out on jogs in the evening. I have no need to set up reminders to exercise, because she is there to tell me that it is time!
Reduces instances of odd canine behavior.
When dogs are not exercised and restless, they usually have an increased tendency to do silly things like dig or find something to chew. With their pent up energy released, they will certainly do so!
Exercising your pet facilitates its digestive system and decreases chances of constipation as well. This is also true of his human owner!
Exercising prevents depression.
Exercising releases endorphines, much in the same way laughter does. If you observe yourself after a round of exercise, your mood is usually much better. Endorphins act as analgesics, which decrease the perception of pain. It develops a happy owner and pet!
It helps a fearful dog build confidence and trust.
A dog which is usually fearful learns to develop trust in his owner after bonding with him through a jog or round of exercise.
This is true of Cloudy. She usually does not trust or come quickly when called, but jogging has helped her to realize that her human owners are there to benefit her and give her a happy life.
Exercise promotes healthy rest.
Exercise will make the dog tired after a session, which means that he will have a good rest soon after! This reduces any instances of canine stress as well.
Most importantly, it is the key to weight control.
Exercise keeps a dog’s weight in balance, just as it does for us. For both dogs and owners, this is true!
Simple ways to exercise our dogs
Exercising your dog can be done in many ways, from a regular jog to more complicated agility exercises and dock jumping. There are indeed many things to do, so pick an activity that suits you and your canine friend!
Bring your dog for regular jogs!
One of the obvious things owners can do is to bring their pets for regular walks or runs at different intervals during the day. Cloudy enjoys the runs owe go on regularly mmensely, always looking back to see if my other older Schnauzer, Misty, is following behind. The excitement in her little puppy face is really evident, especially so when you first put the leash on her and she returns completely satisfied and ready for a nap. Walking your dog or running him a few times a day is really good for very young or old dogs as it increases their metabolism.
Watch out for an overly excited dog though. Dogs are usually so happy on jogs that they may yelp loudly and wake up the whole neighborhood if too excited! It usually. happens to Cloudy, who usually barks and yelps when on a jog. It took some time for her to unlearn that behavior, with a bit of reward and reinforcement.
Bring them out to dog runs and let them socialize with other dogs.
Another form of exercising dogs is to let them exercise with other dogs. Bring them out to dog runs or dog parks. Dog runs not only provide a great place to exercise, they allow your dogs to socialize with each other. I bring Cloudy to a place known as Next, a pet-friendly mall in Singapore which has a roof terrace with a dog run. She yips and gambols, totally enjoying herself.
The Fetch Tease for Abs
The Fetch Tease for Abs is an exercise which benefits both you and your dog. It involves a regular sit up and tossing your dog’s favorite toy as you reach the top. You do ab crunches; Fido does dances!
Try squatting and playing with your dog. As you squat, tap him with his favorite toy, moving around as you do so, only allowing him to grab it if he catches it successfully when you tap him. This tease-filled game is fun way for both you and Fido to enjoy some exercise.
What about racing with your dog to pick up his favorite toy? The dog usually wins (they are much faster than us) but this is a great way to motivate your pet to move about. A jolly form of physical exertion.
Climb stairs together with Fido. This is a great way for both of you to work off your breakfasts. Widen your stance and skip alternate steps as you get familiar with the exercise. This is challenging and provides a fun workout.
How about getting your canine more involved with sports and exercise?
Some forms of exercise require you and your dog to be prepared with a bit more training, but are definitely not complicated. These are some fun, more advanced forms of exercises for your dog to try!
Many owners and their dogs usually find it challenging and a whole lot of fun to put their dogs through their paces on agility equipment. Canines usually have loads of enjoyment on the Table or going through a Tunnel.
Such equipment is available at Next, near the dog run I bring Cloudy to. She absolutely enjoys scrambling through the tunnel. It channels her excess energy elsewhere!
This is the sport of cross country running while attached to a dog. Again, it requires a canine harness, waist belt and a flexible line. A competitive sport, the first world Canicross championships were held in Ravenna, Italy in 2002.
This is a good way to get dogs involved in sport. It is suitable for those who already jog with their dogs to take things a level further!
This is a fun form of exercise where a dog or team of dogs is attached to a towline and runs in front of a cyclist. Requiring a little training and coordination with your dog, make sure he is comfortable with the towline and pulling you before trying this. The equipment required will be a waist belt, a harness and a flexible line.
However, this is an enjoyable form of exercise for both cyclist owners and their little canines!
This again involves pulling. This time, the dog pulls their owner on a kick scooter! A canine harness is of course needed, but this exercise incorporates a bungee cord to absorb the shock of inertia on takeoff or stopping. This is a whole lot of fun for anyone who loves their ski scooter and their dogs too!
For the winter – Skijoring
Owners may be stuck for an exercise activity for their canines during the winter months, so Skijoring is a wonderful activity. Again requiring the usual canine harness, waist belt and line, this is enjoyable for dogs who simply love to pull owners on a pair of skis. Canines can be very strong. They can easily get owners moving in the snow!