If you want to how to exercise a dog, you need to understand all of their needs.
Proper exercise includes both physical and mental stimulation, but that’s not all. It also includes knowing your dog’s personal limitations. If you don’t meet their needs or account for their limitations, your dog’s health may suffer.
In this article, we discuss the necessary aspects to consider when exercising a dog. This includes mental and physical dog exercise and how to account for age, breed, and general health. Continue reading to learn how to give your dog what they need.
Why exercise is important
Part of being a good pet parent involves knowing how to exercise a dog properly. This is because proper exercise leads to good health and longer lifespans. In fact, a 2019 study found that overweight dogs live shorter lives than dogs at a normal weight.
The right amount of exercise also means increase strength and endurance. It also promotes good heart health as it does in humans. The key is to tailor your dog’s exercise regimen to their unique needs.
Getting the right amount of exercise
While getting exercise is important, getting the right amount of exercise is what matters most. This is because overexercising and underexercising your dog are equally detrimental to their health.
Overexercise involves doing too much too soon. If your dog isn’t used to a particular duration or difficulty of the activity, they can injure themselves. For younger dogs that are developing, this can also negatively impact their growth.
Underexercising can lead to health problems as well. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, behavioral problems, and other health conditions.
Things to consider when you exercise a dog
So, how do you find the right amount of exercise? There are three main things to consider: age, breed, and overall health.
This is just a baseline to guide you in creating the right exercise plan for your dog. Be sure to talk with your dog’s vet before making any drastic changes to their routine.
As a dog ages, their exercise needs change. Puppies have short but intense surges of energy. They only need short but frequent play sessions or activities to keep their minds and energy focused on something productive.
In contrast, senior dogs tend to tire easily. Having a senior dog means relearning how to run with a dog all over again.
How to exercise a dog at peak adulthood (not a puppy or a senior) depends more on the other factors on our list: breed and overall health.
Other breeds either have less need for activity or have physical limitations. For example, short-nosed breeds such as pugs and bulldogs tend to have difficulty breathing when exercising.
Other examples are toy breeds and giant breed dogs. Their bodies aren’t designed for high levels of activity either. These breeds benefit more from slow walks around the neighborhood or a light game of fetch in the backyard.
Changes in health or even specific injuries and illnesses affect your dog’s exercise needs as well. For example, a diabetic dog with uncontrolled glucose levels will have less energy than a dog that doesn’t suffer from diabetes.
Types of exercise
Keeping in mind your dog’s individual exercise needs, several different types of activities to choose from. Whether you’re a new pet owner looking to learn how to walk a dog or are just looking for new dog exercise ideas, it’s easy to get your dog into good shape.
There are two main types of exercise we recommend for all dogs. These two types are physical activity and mental activity. Enjoying these two kinds of activities together means a greater relationship between you and your dog.
All dogs need some form of physical activity to strengthen their joints and build muscle. However, it’s also important to provide them with mental stimulation as well. It’s essential for dogs with lower exercise tolerance.
Start by getting your dog set up with the right equipment for physical exercise, such as this dog harness set. The right equipment means having good control over your dog, which results in a good experience for both of you.
Next, work on finding the right activity for both of you. If you have a high-energy dog, you might consider learning how to run with a dog. If you have a lower-energy dog, consider learning more about walking a dog.
Otherwise, you can get creative with some of our other recommendations. Fetch is a great go-to game because it’s simple and fun for your dog.
Working dogs or dogs that are impossible to tire may do well with an obstacle course. This is the best of both worlds because it gives them a chance to run and jump while also keeping them mentally active.
As we said, mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation. The best activities combine both. However, if you have a dog with a low exercise tolerance or want to focus on brain work, we have some activities to consider.
If you make obedience training fun, it will become a fun game for you both of you to enjoy. Using positive reinforcement, your dog will get excited when it’s time to learn something new.
For an extra challenging dog exercise, work on teaching your dog the name of their toys. Once they have the names down, you can create a fun game of toy hide-and-seek.
Whatever game you decide, make it a challenge for your dog. However, be sure to keep it fun. The best part of these games is that your dog enjoys them.
Reaping the benefits of exercising your dog
Knowing how to exercise a dog properly means knowing how to make your dog happy and keeping them healthy. You both can also have a lot of fun in the process.
After deciding the appropriate level of exercise for your dog, you can pick and choose fun activities. Maybe your dog will love an obstacle course or even a simple walk. Whatever the choice may be, it will build the bond between you and your furry friend.