How to Exercise Your Dog & Why Exercise is Important
Do dogs benefit from exercising the same way humans do? Have you wondered how to exercise your dog other than the daily walk? There are many ways to get your dog their daily dose of exercise. Some dogs don’t require daily exercise but it can’t hurt! Many dog owners are unaware of the importance exercise has. Lack of exercise often causes hyper and aggressive behavior.
The reason why this happens is your dog expels no energy throughout the day, causing a build up of energy as the day progresses. By evening they still have not released any energy that has to be used somewhere. The result is they become hyper and in some cases destructive by chewing on couches or floors. Routine exercise is important for all dogs including those who don’t become hyper or aggressive from lack of exercise. Exercise is not only important for behavior, but it is also important for the health of your dog. Keep reading or jump ahead to – How to Exercise Your Dog
Over exercising is something all dog owners must be aware of, especially with breeds who suffer from joint issues and hip dysplasia. Our Pomeranian loves his toys. If we walk over to the toy drawer, he instantly becomes excited, running in a circle, wagging his tail, and slamming his bum to the ground showing us he is behaving and deserves to play! Sometimes he has so much energy that our sessions will last over 30 minutes.
One time we have played for over 30 minutes with no breaks and he irritated his leg. He suffers from elbow dysplasia which is caused from over exercising or landing on his leg in a vulnerable position. Without care it can become chronic. It is something we need to watch closely. Most dogs today have issues with dysplasia especially larger dogs. Over exercise is unhealthy and should be monitored closely.
The following covers the most effective ways we have discovered for how to exercise your dog breed.
- One of the oldest ways to provide daily exercise is the good old walk! Walk your dog in the yard (be careful of ticks), around the block, beach, park, anywhere! It is the most common and effective way to help release some energy your dog may be holding. But for some dogs, a walk is not enough and other forms of exercise are necessary along with a daily walk.
- Another common activity is to keep your dog on a leash, and have them walk on the treadmill at low speeds. This one is questionable as it could be dangerous for the dog if done improperly. But if Cesar Millan does it, we are okay with it as long as care, caution, and supervision is being taken at all times.
- Dog toys and games are another popular option to expel energy. These days there are a slew of dog toys from ropes, balls, squeaky toys, toys that hide treats inside, to quacking ducks. You’ll find something that excites your dog. But dog toys don’t always do the trick as some dogs lose interest in toys quickly.
- We call this the nighttime flashlight frenzy. Find the safest room in your house, preferably an open area with no sharp edges on furniture or tables. Close all of the blinds, shut the doors, and shut off the lights. Grab a flash light and turn it on. You want to use a flashlight that has a thin tight circle. Aim the flashlight on the ground in front of your dog.
Your dog will become amazed at the circle and begin to follow it. You can control where the light goes, which controls where your dog goes. Try to keep the light away from anything the dog could injure themselves on. Once again, all dogs won’t respond the same way and this may not work for your dog, though we have found many dogs get a thrill from this activity. They think they can catch the light!
- Outdoor activities and dog activities are another option. Things like hiking, camping, fishing, sledding, fly ball, pulling, racing, rollerblading, biking, agility activities, swimming, Frisbee, weight pulling, are great options. If you plan on hiking with your dog, make sure you have all of these hiking checklist items. You and your dog need to be prepared for anything nature throws at you!
Many of these activities consist of your dog pulling you while holding their leash. All dog owners need to realize is that a dog’s mind can be exercised with new events or problem solving just like their bodies with physical work. Through thinking and solving problems their minds are hard at work which helps calm them as the day progresses. Even though fishing and camping are not necessarily strenuous activities, the practice of bringing your dog somewhere unknown and experience something new gets their minds going. This results in expelled energy.
- Meet new dogs! By meeting new dogs, your dog will become excited, even if they don’t show body language, their minds are excited. Visit dog parks; go to local pet expos, pet shows, dog walkathons, and events. Be careful with parks as they can be unsanitary. Studies have shown many dogs catch illnesses at parks that are uncleanly.
How to Exercise Your Dog
After that, you should test your dog to see if their exercise needs have been met. The easiest way to do that is by performing your routine evening activity. It may consist of hoping on the couch with a cup of tea and watching TV. Examine what your dog is doing versus what he/she normally does. If they usually are running in circles, barking out the window, or begging you to play toy games, what are they doing now? If your dog is now lying by your side breathing calmly and sitting still, you can assume they received the exercise they needed and are content.
You can attempt to excite them again and examine their reaction. For example, as I said before, our Pomeranian Teddy goes crazy for his toys. When he is truly tired and out of energy, he will become excited, but once we throw the toy, he “gives up”. He reacts by running after it, then a quarter of the way there he stops and comes back. This confirms to us that he is tired.
Again, you must be careful because some dogs don’t know what stop means. They may play constantly until you stop which can cause problems, use your best judgment. If your dog has been exercising for an hour straight it is probably a good idea to give the dog some water and a break before continuing if you feel they can continue.
The next time you or someone you know wonders why their dog is wild especially in the evenings, you now know how to exercise your dog properly! We hope this will help all of our fellow dog owners to enjoy a calm and relaxing evening with their dog by their side, the way it should be!
Dog Lover Store
August 5th, 2011
Latest Update: August 26th, 2020
How to Exercise Your Dog
Kim is the co-owner of DogLoverStore with her husband, John. She earned her BS in operations management at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She enjoys walking in nature, gardening in the sun, eating sour candy, going on drives, yoga, and reading.