Adequate dog exercise is essential for your pet dog’s emotional as well as his physical well-being. Even small dogs with low exercise requirements will enjoy and benefit from daily walks.
Healthy Exercise Tips For Dogs
What’s Right For Your Dog?
Different breeds have different requirements in terms of duration and type of exercise; some will need plenty of space and opportunity for free running as well as leash walks, while others will be happy taking a gentle stroll and enjoying a romp in the park. You may need to take particular care not to over-exercise some breeds while they are still growing as this can lead to joint damage.
Strong hunting instincts and/or poor recall may mean that it isn’t safe to allow some dogs off the leash, so may need to find a securely enclosed area where yours can let off steam if he is an active breed who needs to be able to run. Some dogs enjoy going out jogging with their owners, and this particular activity has given rise to increasingly popular cani-cross competitions. You can take your dog running with you provided he is of breed that can cope with this type of extended- duration exertion, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for slower-paced walks, both on and off the leash.
Going out with your dog isn’t just about taking exercise – it is also an opportunity for menntal stimulation, allowing him to explore, meet people and other dogs, and for the two of you to interact with each other.
Activities To Avoid
Cycling with your dog is not a good idea. You may go too fast, too far and for too long without being aware of the fact that your dog is struggling. Neither do you have proper control over his actions, which could be dangerous for both of you as well as for others. The same applies to your dog accompanying you while you are on horseback: if anything were to happen to your dog, you would not be able to attend to him properly while also keeping good control of the horse.
Going For A Walk
Ideally, walking your dog should include time interacting with each other as well as allowing him free running. Take along a favourite toy and stop occasionally to play a game such as hide and seek. Introduce short training sessions. When walking on the leash you can also take varying routes, stop and start, ask him to sit and wait, zigzag, change direction and change your speed to make things a little unpredictable and encourage him to keep his eye on you. These tactics will help keep walks interesting, reinforce habits of obedience in different situations and strengthen the bond between you.
When you are walking your dog, be sure to take all the personal safety precautions that are advised for anyone walking in either a town or the countryside. It is important to remember that the presence of your dog in no way guarantees your safety and you should do all you can to keep yourself and your pet free from harm. In addition:
- Don’t allow your dog to disturb animals or wildlife; keep him on the leash at all times when when near livestock. Especially when they have young, livestock and deer may behave aggressively if they consider you or your dog to be a threat.
- Your dog must wear a collar and ID with your name and address on it – this is a legal requirement and will also increase the likelihood that you will be reunited should he become lost.
- If using a rectractable lead, keep it shortened and with the brake on when walking along roads and pavements.
- If your dog enters a river or runs out on to a frozen pond, never follow him, even if he seems to be difficulty. Every year tragedies occur when people lose their footing or fall through ice as they try to rescue their pet.
Scoop Up Poop
Always scoop your dog’s poop. Use a bag to pick it up, then seal it and place it in a dog-waste bin. If there isn’t one nearby, either take it home to dispose of it or put it in an ordinary litter bin, having double-bagged it first.
After Your Walk
On returning from a walk, you should always check your dog over for:
- Grass seeds that have become trappped between his toes.
- Ticks, which are easily picked up in long grass and undergrowth.
- Damaged or broken toenails.
- Cuts or grazes on his pads and anywhere alse on his body.
- Toxic substances – in winter, rinse paws in warm water to remove any salt that has been put down on pavements, or traces of coolant spilled from car radiators.
Enjoy time with your pets and keep them fit while you keep fit too and create a lasting bond between you and them.
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