A break from walkies! 5 easy exercise tips for dogs
It’s a highlight of the day for your dog; a chance to use up some of that seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm.
But probably most dog owners have found themselves doing the same route, on the same paths, in the same park, day after day. There’s nothing wrong with routine – but changing it up every now and then can be healthy for you and your dog.
Here’s a few dog training tips and different, simple ways to keep your dog well exercised.
Jog with the dog!
Why not combine your regular jog with taking the dog out? It’s great for both of you and really gives him the chance to expend some energy. Saturday morning 5k Parkruns for example take place all over the UK and the vast majority of them allow you take your dog along too!
There are some caveats with running with dogs. Not all breeds will be ideally suited to it – a Bulldog, for example, short of both leg and breath, will not want to go for long runs. Also, puppies are not suited to long runs either – there’s plenty of other ways to get your puppy to exercise (both ‘hanging out with other dog owners’ and ‘games in the garden’, below, are good for puppy exercise).
Finally, if you do run with your dog, try to be considerate of when he wants to stop – whether to greet other dogs or go to the toilet – even if it slows you down. Oh, and don’t forget your dog poop bags!
Hang out with other dog owners
As you know, dogs love being with other dogs. As long as they get on reasonably well, they will end up playing together and expending a lot of energy that way.
Why not set up regular meetings with other dog owners, and let the dogs play in the garden or the local park, while you sit and have your morning coffee and chat!
Games in the garden
If you have a garden, or a park nearby, there are lots of games you can play with your dog that give him plenty of exercise as a change from the regular walk.
Almost every dog loves a game of fetch for example. And on days where it really is too miserable to go outside, it can be played from the comfort of your couch!
Also, why not set up an obstacle course in your garden or local park? There’s always things in your home or garage that you can repurpose as obstacles, or you can buy tunnels, hurdles and other props from pet stores. This is great exercise for your dog and lots of fun too!
Easy dog training tricks
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, so why not let them use it and create a little game of hide and seek with their treats around the garden or house? Your dog will expend a lot of energy and excitement hunting for treats. It’s also a great way to start doing easy tricks to teach your dog.
By using the same word or phrase each time (such as “get ready!” or “go find it!”) before he goes to look for his treat, and then praising him when he finds it, you are associating certain words and phrases with behaviours that remind him of a treat or reward. This is the essence of dog training tricks. There’s lots more you can try – read about them here!
Bring a ball launcher
As mentioned above, all dogs love a game of fetch, but having a ball launcher really makes things easier for you! They allow you to throw the ball very far with hardly any effort, and so are a great way to get your dog running hard while you take it easy! There are a whole range of dog launchers available, and you can pick up a decent one for only a few pounds.
How about a treadmill
If you have a treadmill at home and you have a very active dog, you could see if he takes to the occasional stroll on it! This certainly isn’t one to replace outdoor walks – as dogs prefer the variation, sights and sounds of the outdoors, and obviously need to be outside to go to the toilet – but if you have a dog that needs lots of exercise, then a treadmill can be a great way to give your dog an added boost of exercise now and then!
Remember, never tie your dog’s leash to the treadmill. And don’t rush him into it – let him get familiar with the treadmill first, and give him a treat when you first put him on. Put it on at the lowest speed and continue to give him treats until he is completely comfortable, and slowly turn the speed up to a faster walking pace.
Obedience tricks – such as “Sit!” and “Drop it!” – are very helpful. Find out how to teach those here!