January 22, 2015

5 Ways to exercise your dog

Exercise is not only good for your dog's physical health, but mental health as well (and it's a good thing for humans, too!). While playing in the yard can be great exercise, most dogs benefit from a more focused form of exercise. Here are 5 ideas to get moving with your pooch!

Morning or Evening Walks. This one may seem obvious, but it’s the easiest way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Even 15-20 minutes before or after work can do the trick, and with the sun coming up sooner and going down later, you have some extra time in the daylight! The dogs at the Amazon CARES Peru shelter love their regular walks with our dedicated volunteers.

Once you have built up a steady walking schedule of 30 minutes or more, you can add jogging if you would like. Start with intervals of running and walking (such as 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking) and see how that goes, gradually increasing the running interval.

Obstacle Course. You can set up something in your back yard with a hula hoop, ball, ramp, jump rope, and doing puppy push-ups (ask your dog to lay down, then sit, then lay down, then sit). You can also create your own obstacle course at a park by going over and under benches, around trees, through a lake/pond, over fallen tree logs, etc. Sign up your dog for an agility class if you don’t want to create an obstacle course on your own!

Dancing. Freestyle doggie dancing is becoming quite popular, so you might want to check it out. You teach your dog to follow your lead and do certain tricks at certain times during a song. Check out this video, and there’s also a World Canine Freestyle Organization with some good resources.

Treibball. Similar to soccer, treibball is great for herding type dogs, or any dog that might enjoy pushing a ball into a net with his or her nose. Check out this beginner how-to video, and the American Treibball Association.

Swimming. Some dogs love it, some dogs hate it. The dogs at the Amazon CARES Peru shelter love to swim in the Itaya River, which is a "black water" (unpolluted) tributary of the Amazon. If it isn’t coming naturally to your dog, gradually introduce him or her to it with treats and toys. If your dog still isn’t taking to it, just choose a different activity! As with everything, take it easy when you’re first starting and pay attention to your dog. If he or she is panting excessively or slowing down, take a break, turn around, or call it quits for the day.

What's your favorite activity to do with your dog?

Photo Credit: feeferlump via Compfight cc

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