Guest Post by: Michelle Bittel of All Paws on Deck
The benefits of exercising your pup are endless and you will notice such a difference in their personality when your dog has had sufficient exercise.
It is recommended that your dog gets between 20 and 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise twice a day depending on breed and age. It is very important to recognize the length of time and type of exercise that is best for your dog; not all dogs are the same. In reality, dogs are not that different from us. Think about how you feel after taking that awesome spin class…that awesome yoga class…that awesome kickboxing class where you just let all the stress of your day fade away.
All of the benefits that we experience from a great workout, dogs feel too when they are properly exercised. And, just like we all prefer different ways to exercise, so does your dog!
Here are some benefits to exercising your pup properly:
During exercise, the brain chemical called Serotonin is released which is a feel-good chemical that has a mood elevating and mood stabilizing effect. Serotonin plays an important role over stress and the control of undesirable behaviors. Proper exercise helps your pup feel more relaxed and happier which means they will be less likely to have attention seeking and destructive behaviors.
The proper amount of exercise helps to keep your dog’s mind sharp and can help ward off some age-related diseases. It is important to exercise your dog in all of their stages of life; however, it is equally important to adjust their routine as they get older and remember that their puppy days are over. Be sure to choose an exercise routine that is best for your dogs breed and age. Always talk to your veterinarian about your exercise routine as not all forms of exercise are appropriate for every dog. For example, ball play for a dog prone to arthritis or a dog who is developing arthritis is probably not the best. He/she would probably benefit more from swimming or an easy walk.
More bonding with your dog
Exercising with your dog can be a great way to strengthen your bond especially if you make the activity engaging for the both of you. Try some of those yoga poses you love to do from home using your dog. If they are light enough, you can pick them up in some of your poses or use bigger dogs as support in some poses (nothing that puts too much weight on them). Or even just hang out in downward dog while letting your dog lay under you and give you kisses. Summertime is a great time to go for a swim with your dog and it will also build their confidence in the water to have them with you. No matter what exercise you prefer on your own, you can do with your dog. Get creative and remember to keep it fun!
Active joints are happy joints
Age appropriate exercise that is safe for your dog is one of the best ways to ensure your pet’s joints stay happy and healthy. Your dog having a healthy weight prevents excess pressure on their joints while the exercise they are getting ensures that the joints stay lubricated and strengthens the support muscles. If you are going to increase your dog’s activity levels, be sure to do it gradually and pick an activity that best suits your dogs breed and age. Always remember to bring extra water for your pet no matter how warm or cold it is outside and keep in mind they may need to shorten the period of time they exercise in the summer months. Be mindful of the multiple factors that may affect your dog’s ability to exercise.
Exercise gives your dog a job and purpose in life
It is important for your dog to act on his instincts and use what he/she was bred for in a positive way. Dogs like to have a job and when they don’t, you may end up with undesirable behaviors like excessive barking. Be sure to research the breed before purchasing/buying a dog to see what kind of exercise they need and decide if you have the means to provide that for them. For example, if you are going to have a Border Collie, be sure you can give them an outlet for their instincts like herding or agility. Be mindful of your dogs age, as always, and pick an activity that suits them in their stage of life. Some sports, like agility, require your pup to at least be one year old as they are still developing, and agility can be hard on their joints and affect their development so be sure to do your research.
Exercise gives your dog’s mind a workout too!
Thinking of a creative exercise routine that requires your dog to think provides not only a physical workout but also provides a valuable mental workout as well. Most dog owners think of exercise as purely physical, but dogs need a lot of mental stimulation as well if you want a well-behaved pup. We tend to forget about teaching our dog anything new after they are puppies, however, mental stimulation is important throughout their life and helps to keep their mind sharp. Think about how you would feel if you hadn’t learned anything new in 6 months? A year? 5 years? You would be bored, and your pup would too! There are many ways to keep your dogs mind stimulated by finding some enrichment games you can play with your dog.
Here are some great games you can play with your dog.
When you hear the term socialization as a dog owner, you probably think about your dog interacting with other dogs properly. But, socialization does not only mean positive exposure to other dogs. Socialization means exposure to everything from other dogs to other people as well as their environment. It is important for your dog to learn proper behaviors so they can be happy and well-behaved in these situations. When dogs are not properly socialized, it can lead to your dog feeling very stressed in certain situations and can even lead to aggression. You may think you need to take your dog to the dog park in order for them to get proper socialization but even just taking them to different locations on their walks will socialize your dog. You can also socialize them in other ways like taking them to the pet shop with you or other dog-friendly places as well as joining a puppy socialization class.
For more information on socialization or to join our puppy socialization walks, click here.
An exercise that is interactive for your pup can help with your dog’s obedience while strengthening your bond at the same time. Spending time playing with your pup and teaching him/her new games will make training more fun for your pup and the stronger your bond is with them, the more willing they will be to please you. Don’t think playing fetch with your pup is interactive? Think again! By playing fetch with your pup, they will learn to sit, stay or wait, take it, drop it, leave it, and it is also positively reinforcing them to come back to you which is something dog owners worry about the most!
At All Paws on Deck, we offer a multitude of services to help fit the needs of you and your pet! We offer both 30 minute and 1-hour solo walks as well as 1-hour group walks. We will also customize a service for you if your dog prefers a different form of exercise like playing fetch in your fenced in yard. We realize that not all dogs are the same and so, they all need different forms of exercise!
Give us a call or click here to see how we can help you keep your paws active!
Seriously, we’ve got all paws on deck!