Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy
They say a tired dog is a happy dog. But what’s the best way to exercise your dog so they can reach the perfect state of doggy bliss? The answer may surprise you.
First, there’s no “one size fits all” answer when it comes to dogs and exercise. That’s because their individual needs vary depending on their age, breed, and overall health. However, experts generally agree that most dogs benefit from at least 15-20 minutes of exercise twice a day. In an ideal world, this exercise includes a quick trot or running – enough to get them panting – so they can work out any pent-up energy.
Here are a few recommendations to get your dog the exercise they need. And the best part? These activities provide mental stimulation too!
Walks offer numerous physical and mental benefits for dogs, but they’re only the beginning when it comes to exercise. For most dogs, a 20-minute walk only gets them warmed up, so it really doesn’t tire them out. And, if you have a fearful or anxious dog, walks can increase their stress levels, worsening reactivity or behavioral problems, like lunging or barking. But, at the same time, dogs who don’t get enough exercise can be overly reactive. So, what can you do?
Don’t worry; you don’t have to hang up your leash! Try upping the ante on your outings by walking to a park and using a 15- or 20-foot-long leash to let your dog run “free.” This approach also creates a valuable opportunity to practice those recalls! For more athletic dog owners, try running or doing short sprints while you’re out and about. This can get both of your hearts pumping to increase your strength and stamina. Remember, though, to keep an eye on your dog and stop when they need to.
If you have a fearful or anxious dog, try shorter walks and more exercise indoors – like fetch – to see if they grow more relaxed. Lowering their stress levels can make training easier, strengthen your bond, and give your fearful dog more confidence.
When it comes to exercising your dog, few activities beat playing fetch. Not only is it a great way to get them moving indoors or out, but it can also help strengthen your relationship and improve their behavior. That’s because fetch lets dogs use their natural instincts in a safe and healthy way while burning off excess energy at the same time!
While most dogs love a good game of fetch, it’s often an activity you have to teach them. But, don’t worry, it’s easy! Start by getting a good game of tug going and, once they’re having a total blast, toss the toy a short distance away. In most cases, they’ll bring it back to you to keep the game of tug going. When they do, reward them with more tug! Eventually, you’ll be able to throw the toy farther and farther away, which will have them fetching in no time.
If you have a dog who loves other dogs, supervised playdates are a great way to sneak in exercise without them knowing it! Playing with other dogs offers your dog a unique opportunity to exercise their bodies and mind – essential for relieving boredom, frustration, and problem behavior. One of the best ways of doing this is through doggy daycare “Playday” sessions.
Unlike a trip to the dog park, our playdates are supervised by Play Coaches who receive special training in dog behavior and body language so they can identify potential issues before they arise. We also follow strict rules in each of our playrooms – like no food, toys, or treats – and reinforce basic obedience commands to create a safe environment where dogs stay on their best behavior while being part of a pack.
We also create positive play experiences for our dogs by requiring a Temperament Assessment & Evaluation before they can attend their first Playday session. This helps keep everyone safe and enables us to determine which playgroup is best for each dog who visits. In addition to having plenty of time to play with other dogs, our doggy daycare sessions also come with plenty of belly rubs, head scratches, and fun with our Play Coaches.
Remember, making sure your dog gets enough physical activity is only the beginning; they need plenty of mental exercise too. Looking for more ways to keep your dog challenged? We’ve got lots of fun enrichment activities that you can year-round!